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  • 1. THE BLUE AND GOLD The student’s voice • MICA (P) 200/03/2009 Issue 9 • March 2010 Being your own boss in SMU...
  • 2. THE BLUE AND GOLD Editor’s note COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY, SMUSA Dear readers, Lee Cher Hern Picking up this magazine would mean that you are part of a growing group of students: one that MANAGING DIRECTOR is not only updated with student trends but news that concerns you! Owen Tan ACTING MANAGING DIRECTOR In this issue, our writers sprawled the school campus for new stories on school events and Michael Ng student trends. From the arts festival to the marriage in SMU, we went around looking for things that you were part of (like some of you during Patron’s Day) and you would want to know. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ephraim Loy Student entrepreneurship has always been a dream state that SMU students hear about. Not only is it the off-beaten path, it is also full of uncertainty. And if running a company for profit seems ACTING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF too simple, try taking on a social enterprise for size. Anthony Angela Talking about size, one the our largest CCAs, SMUBE gained flak after releasing their official rate MANAGING EDITOR card. Non-ACF clubs will now need to pay for SMUBE’s event services. Ankita Prasad Looking further from our school backyard, our world is facing a painful and dangerous reality: be SENIOR EDITORS it terrorism or the environment. Globalisation has brough many more players onto the chess- Esther Yeo board and it is going to be messy. Talisa Kaur Dhaliwal That’s the ninth edition for you and I do hope you would enjoy it! From all of us here at the Blue EDITORS and Gold, We’ll see you again in August! Nadim Ali Kapadia Tobias Yeo Zhi Qiang Anthony Angela Sheena Lee Acting Editor-in-Chief, The Blue and Gold Aashna Nasta GRAPHIC DESIGN Chloe Sng This issue of The Blue and Gold is proudly sponsored by THE BLUE AND GOLD is a fully student-run publication of the Singapore Management University Students’ 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. Printed by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd. The Blue and Gold 81 Victoria Street Singapore 188065
  • 3. THE BLUE AND GOLD March 2010 • Issue 9 Contents Viewpoint 22 Writing can be a form of student Digital 4 Expectations of love activism 38 Picking the right smartphone for Anthony Angela shares on Shobana Nadaraja finds out why from you expectations when in love this publication’s Editor-in-Chief Techonology blogger Daniel Tsou 5 Foreign workers? Foreign talent? 24 Getting a life — Managing CCAs helps us to find the perfect match Cover Story and GPAs Spotlight 6 Being your own boss... in SMU Narem Gunawardana speaks to 40 From showbiz to business Wang Sha checks out the students to find out how they have time Travel entrepreneur culture in SMU and to actively pursue their CCAs 42 Korea through a native’s eyes finds it thriving Chiang Chia Wen provides a glimpse Worldscope 12 Creating the social enterprise of into the Korean cultural experience 28 Environmental efforts: The big tomorrow 44 Vita in Italia three Anthony Angela explores the social Lim Si Hui discovers a new dimension Sumedha Jalote studies the issues in side of business of romantic Italy climate change through three major School Events 46 Unrestrained freedom agreements 13 On turning 10! Michael Ng introduces us to the 30 Major environment conferences Shreya Vora captures the highlights culture of student power in Hong 32 Reflections on the war on terror of SMU’s 10th birthday celebrations Kong Higher Learning 16 Meet your perfect brew in school 48 The Shangri-La I documented: 34 A milestone for the first HPair Saunders Shen keeps up with beer Project Argali 2 2010 Asia conference appreciation — SMU Barworkz Talisa Kaur Dhaliwal explores from Sohail Sardana reveals how SMU will newest hobby the edge of paradise embrace future leaders worldwide 17 Sports at its best 50 Entering the USA: Easier than I 35 An encounter with the men in Ephraim Loy attends the SSU Sports thought white team Awards Night Owen Tan gives his take on the Anthony Angela unveils challenges 18 10th SMUSA sworn in security measures at US airports behind the writing process Michael Ng sums up the SMUSA Campus Arts Annual General Meeting 2010 36 SMU Arts Festival 2010: A 19 SMUBE’s new policy questioned reflection Michael Ng revisits the debate on Denise Seetekbeng, Elle Lim, Kimberly student remuneration Yap and Teena Ngo look back on their 20 Being young and married in SMU favourite art festive performances Anthony Angela sits down and discusses marriage in SMU
  • 4. Viewpoint ExpEctations of lovE Anthony Angela shares on expectations when in love Being absolutely career driven, I want to be passionately in love with my career (wherever it took me)…and my boy- friend. But as things turn out, you cannot always have the best of both worlds. We are still working towards a compromise, I still absolutely adore him and I think we’re good. Having the time to share would be the big issue for students. For some of my sports friends, they are lucky since both boy- friend and girlfriend are in the same CCA, but that’s not always the case. I believe each relationship needs time to build and if there is too little maintenance, it crumbles because you’re not updated “ ...each relationship needs time to build and if there is too little maintenance, it crumbles...” I t is the end of week 7 and my friends have shared their stories with me. boyfriend’s family is still celebrat- Some get furious by the fact that their ing Chinese New Year. Yes, and they other half demands too much from them with the latest on what your sweetheart is invited me and I came and did my best to while others cry that their sweetheart thinking or feeling. Trouble starts here. smile, chit-chat and hide the fact that I’m does not spend enough time with them. I worried about that assignment that I have guess everyone has different expectations Tough as it sounds, we just have to deal due or that reading that I haven’t done. of their beloved and letting them know with it. One of my all time favourite movie That’s love for you I guess. yours should not be too damaging. quotes is from Star Trek’s Generations movie: “When something’s important, Having a relationship in SMU is absolute- Expectations can include the little things you make the time.” It is hard enough to ly, at least for me, not simple. Due to my like being on time to the more serious get attached but to stay attached means commitments in sports and now, in this matters like career progression – especial- working on the relationship. Sharing publication, I realised that I haven’t spent ly for those thinking of working overseas. expectations may be the first part of that that much time with my beloved. Though process and though it does not always he is very understanding and does let me Why not let him know about your ambi- work, we at least have the knowledge have my way, one can’t help but feel bad tion and ask him about his. This little that we tried. for all the times I have made him wait (the conversation can help you understand longest I remembered was three hours), what kind of life your dearie wants. Think about it! all the times that I canceled on him and all the times I wasn’t there for him. For me, expectations sharing came as a surprise when I learnt where my boy- But I’m certain that not everyone is as friend wanted to live in future. It was lucky as me. Through my SMU life, totally not what I expected. January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 4
  • 5. ViewPoint Foreign workers? Foreign talent? By Linette Lim M eet Labu, a 26-year old con- is Hong Kong, where minimum wage is of their siblings, children and parents. As struction worker in Singapore. guaranteed by law. Piper and Yamanaka I sat in Sutha's restaurant off Cuff Road Labu is unable to work because also assert that Filipino migrants in Hong registering workers that came in for free of an injury to his right thumb. Without Kong are more likely to undertake col- meals, I realised I have not felt this happy work, Labu goes without food. But that is lective action (in the form of organi-ed in a long time. I felt free, unjudged and not all - there is no insurance payout, and protests) to oppose policies that threaten completely at ease in the presence of the there is no medical care. There is no safety their economic rights. workers. We teased Abdul, one of the net for the likes of Labu, because the gov- workers who was wearing sunglasses ernment is not obligated to protect their Of course, in any discourse on the rights (due to an eye injury), saying that he welfare. They are migrant workers. and treatment of migrant workers one now looks like a movie star. I entertained should not solely examine government personal questions ("How much you earn- I only started volunteering at Transient legislation. An issue of grave importance ing?") and explained the concept of volun- Workers Count Too (TWC2) this year, is how Singaporeans perceive these teerism, drawing smiles and thumbs ups. so I cannot claim to know much about foreigners and how we want them to be I impressed them with my vocabulary of the situation. However, from what I have treated. Many citizens are either apa- twenty Hindi words (of which five are the seen and learnt from migrant workers thetic or do not support equal rights for words for the numbers 1 to 5). and TWC2 social workers thus far, it does migrants. Some fear that giving their seem like manpower laws allow errant domestic helpers a mandatory day off will The most important part however, was employers to get away with not paying give them opportunity to ‘fool around’ listening to their problems and offering for medical bills resulting from work- with male company; while others claim solutions - in other words, making this place accidents. It does seem like people that the low wages are justified by the for- wonderful place I call home a better place like Labu are treated as mere factors of eign worker levy they have to pay. While for them to live in. Barely literate and production or labour units. Dehumanis- these concerns are not unreasonable, poorly educated, Labu needs someone ing them like this exempts one from treat- there is a need for greater understanding like you and me to stand on his side - to ing them with dignity. and mutual respect between citizens and accompany him to the hospital, offer migrants. legal help, or navigate the convoluted In Prime Minister Lee’s speech at the hallways of the manpower building — Nanyang Technological University Stu- Singapore in a recent UNDP report was and demand social justice. dent’s Union Ministerial Forum in 2009, ranked 7th in average incomes, using he stated that 55% of the non-citizens in GDP per capita (PPP US$) as an indicator. Singapore are transient workers. The non- Even though Singapore has a relatively citizen population currently stands at higher average income than many OECD 1.25 million. These transient workers are countries, we have not achieved similar denied basic rights, like mandatory days human development, ranking only 23rd off and minimum wage. Unlike foreign in the Human Development Index. Can talent that needs to be wooed with incen- this paradox of economic growth be ap- tives, these transient workers are in large plied to the Singaporean individual? supply, and will agree to any terms of employment. This sets up opportunities Perhaps in our pursuit of economic for exploitation. well-being we have dehumanised not just migrant workers, but ourselves as well. In their 2007 book on migration in East and Southeast Asia, researchers Piper and Once we stop seeing them as factors of Yamanaka classify Malaysia and Singa- production, we can relate to them as pore as migrant-receiving countries that human beings, as brothers and sisters, “severely curtail pro-migrant actions”. or fathers and mothers who have come a The most liberal migrant-receiving area long way from home to improve the lives 5 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 6. Being your own boss... in SMU Wang Sha checks out the entrepreneur culture in SMU and finds it thriving Photos by Wayne Lim Ting Ke and Wang Guangzhao SMU life can be stressful but certainly not enough to get to Adam Teow Li Chong. Adam is part of a group of students in SMU who run their own businesses while studying. A third year student at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, he is the founder of Achievers Science, a subsidiary of Edulink Learning Centre. Achievers Science carries out workshops in Singapore and reaches out to more than 250 students, generating revenue of more than $10,000 a month. Adam’s passion to create Achievers Science start- By the time he decided to start his own busi- ed at the age of 18 when he was in India. “I went ness, Adam had been in the tuition industry for to New Delhi for army training, I saw kids along 5 years. He taught tuition, ran workshops for the street begging for money. At that time it hit schools and centers. He had also completed a me that someone should reach out to educate 10 month leadership training that gave him the them.” He remembers. And with that, there was courage and confidence to start up Achievers no turning back. Science. Adam’s first investor was his mother; He paid her back with the profit within a month.
  • 7. Adam’s big break came. He won a contract to run science initiatives available like The Loft below (where Screme is at) and courses with a local organisation. After that, other opportunities Treehouse. streamed in. For those interested in participating in bazaars and business re- Adam was approached in April last year, by an international lated activities, consider the initiatives from BIZCOM, the finan- publisher to write two books on learning science and is now cial arm of SMUSA. Their aim is to create a practical business having one of them published. environment for students. The club organises bazaars that allow students to set up their own booth and experience running their The road for an entrepreneur, however, has never been an easy own shop. Jack Moy, a second-year business student and director one. Desmond Lim Huang Hui is one of the students behind of the SMU-BIZCOM described the club as a place for everyone, Treehouse at SMU. He shared how the lack of experience and knowledge of running a cafe became a serious issue. “The profits that we make through organising events are all channeled to students. This channels include SMUSA activities, “We found that our ideas were not feasible when we started to freebies etc.” prepare. We were not sure how to start because we didn’t have much experience. We have to make decisions based on nothing, Another initiative that aspiring entrepreneurs should look to- from what kind of plates to buy to what decorations are needed.” ward is The Institute of innovation and entrepreneurship (IIIE). The IIE was launched in 2009 with the help of various initia- The team behind Screme, consisting of Seth Lui and Leong Tang, tives provided by the Singapore government. Adeline C. Tan, both final-year business students and Rachel Tan Weili, a senior the Evangelist of SMU IIE, shared with us that aspiring SMU in economics, also faced similar problems. They had a tough entrepreneurs could get help through the whole innovation time at first. Seth recalled those time when things went wrong, entrepreneurship value chain. “We had little revenue, we ran out of supplies, we got so stressed. Teamwork also played an important role.” Students could consult with experienced business mentors; get access to an incubation space, the Business Innovation Genera- As they say, if there’s a down, there must be an up and for an- tor (BIG) to run their business. They also can take advantage of other student entrepreneur Chua Zhi Hon, David that could be the Entrepreneurs Corner, a monthly networks session to meet his experience in a nutshell. David is one of the co-founders of investors. So far, IIE has assisted 23 start ups in their pursuit for, a successful IS project extension which just got entrepreneurship. Adeline emphasised: “Our focus will always government funding SMART. be on quality more so than quantity.” In 2007, David started his first business, Frro LLP, together with The risk involved a NTU student and an engineer. He recalled, “Frro LLP was my It is necessary to think through all the pros and cons of starting first registered business. It was an IT company, which provided student ventures. Pursuing this path is exciting, but also requires web posting and IT solutions. We provided small businesses courage, perseverance and the willingness to sacrifice. with consultancy services and helped them go online.” The Frro LLP, however, ran only for a year or so and David moved on Seth recalled his life when he first started: “We are either in to, an IT solution that fuses online search with school or here “. When Rachel, who is also juggling with her social networking. “At many stages in my life, I was either run- grade, was asked how to balance, she answered “Grades are ning websites or doing other projects. It is my dream to create important, so in my final year I will work more on it. something that can help people. I cannot imagine life without my own business.” Jack shared with us his thoughts: “My first year was nothing but study. But if you give up an opportunity to try out something Similar thoughts were shared by Rachel from Screme, who didn’t new because of fear for lower GPA, you will lose track of more intend to become an entrepreneur. “I learnt time management important things in life.” and communication skills. Most importantly, I discovered the thing I want to do.” For those who are interested in becoming student entrepreneurs, Adam suggested: “Never be afraid to try. Have courage to jump Starting up a business of your own into new experiences. And always remember to push yourself For those looking to start their own venture, take a peek at the to the limit of your abilities! You will be surprised what you will available options in and around school for help. For those inter- find living your life at the edge.” ested in the cafes, OSL and SMUSA have some student-friendly January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 8
  • 8. sMU claiMs that its stUdEnts arE daring and willing to takE risk. To prove if this statement was true, The Blue and Gold went in search for entrepreneurs in SMU and realised that there are quite a number of students and graduates running their own businesses. Agnes Ang School of Information Systems, Year 4 The Venture: Agnes is one of the founders of Tocco Studios, a multi- touch solutions provider. Tocco focuses on big screen multi-touch systems allowing two to four people can collaborate with ease. Tocco Studios offers services that ca- ter to the entire value chain includ- ing interface design and production. Contact: For more information on the multi-touch solutions available, do contact Agnes at agnes@toc- Anthony Chang Chia Joo Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Year 4 The Venture: Anthony started Prosperity Bird Nests Pte Ltd recently. He aims to sell processed bird’s nests to Chinese restaurants in western countries. A word of caution for those who are interested in the bird’s nest business, Anthony says learning about bird’s nest is awfully expensive. Once, he went for a one day course on bird’s nest and it cost him a whopping $1,000! Contact: For those who would like have find out more about Anthony and his bird’s nest, contact him at
  • 9. Keith Ng and Damon Widjaja Lee Jun Kiat SMU graduates Lee Kong Chian School of Business, The Venture: Keith and Damon are the founders of Socialico. Their flagship Year 2 product is the FAME league, a social game that allows one to buy and sell shares of friends and celebrities on a virtual stock market. That then pro- The Venture: Jun Kiat started Reactive Design vides information and predictions of different events becoming a powerful with some friends in JC1. They started with stage system for data collection. designs and event photo productions but today, after six years of experience, their service offerings The Fame league is currently available on Facebook and has been selected as include advertising, branding, copywriting, T-shirt one of the 50 finalists (out of 400) in the fbFund 2009. printing and much much more. Contact: Check them out on Facebook at Fame league or visit www.famelea- For those looking for an effective and affordable advertising, visit sg Contact: You can also contact Jun Kiat at David Chua Zhi Hon School of Information Systems, Year 3 The Venture: David and two other SMU students run Baboon, a new kind of website that blends your social network with your online searches. is now funded by the Singapore- MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Explorer Grant and is in the midst of raising 2nd round funding from venture capitalists. Contact: You can drop David an email at
  • 10. Creating the social enterprise of tomorrow Anthony Angela explores the social side of business M ost SMU students would not stand how the outcome could be carried “If the organisation is an entity that runs choose social work as a career out. It’s not easy to make money out of a business and earns profit that goes back route. They usually complete this.” And therein lay the first problem to the entity, then the organisation can be their 80 hours and continue with studies, that many social enterprises face. self-sufficient. This brings many benefits internships and many other activities. But in terms of providing employment for for Goh Aik Chuan, he does everything A more general problem is the public’s your beneficiaries. You don’t have to rely the normal SMU student does, apart from reaction to donations made to NGOs. “The on charity or funds from the government. one: running a consultancy program for public still thinks that every dollar that You can get your own source of income.” NGOs. they donate, the full dollar should go to Despite possible negative social respons- Aik Chuan, a final year economics stu- es, support for the movement into social dent in SMU, is part of a growing number enterprises seems to be looking good, at of individuals and groups in Singapore least in SMU. starting social enterprises. Though his or- ganisation is technically not an organisa- Edwin estimated that there were around tion, the program has been successful and 70 members in the ISE with 30 of them running for a few years. actively involved in projects locally and abroad. “Usually when people join ISE, He started the idea of consultancy they do it for varying reasons. Some of with the intention of changing the way them join because they want to start students got involved in community proj- their own business while others because ects. “Students are trained in marketing of their passion for community services.” and crunching numbers and many other Edwin said. What is particularly interest- skills that are much needed in the non ing is that the projects themselves are profiting world especially at low cost.” As almost independently run with periodical such, Aik Chuan and some friends came monitoring from the vice-president of together and after a failed attempt at projects at the ISE. market research, they settled on consul- tancy. “We decided to cover the larger In Singapore, where the social enterprise scope of the value chain where someone scene is young and small, Aik Chuan had to implement ideas.” enlightens on me situations one would be facing, “There are not many case studies To date, Consulting for Cause has profes- and not many people you could look at or sional advisors and permanent team seek advice from.” As such, there are two leaders like Aik Chuan to run the daily the poor. There’s no such thing as the full things that you need, according to Aik Ch- operations of the program. Student vol- dollar going to the poor. There’s adminis- uan. One is entrepreneurial spirit and the unteers come in for each project with a trative cost, there’s a project management second, ego. “The truth is that you have permanent team leader who guides them cost and many other cost associated with to have certain sense of value of yourself. to complete their projects successfully. a dollar donated.” You have to know that you can accom- But things are not as smooth sailing as it plish something and you have to have the seems. The same thing applies to social enterpris- guts to say that you can accomplish it.” es. Speaking to the vice-president of the Aik Chuan laments, “We have come to SMU-ISE (Initiative of social enterprises) realise that NGO in Singapore are not Edwin Leong Chen Sheng, he makes it very familiar with the concept of consult- clear that social enterprises are entirely ing. They don’t know what is expected of different from the traditional NGOs. them and they don’t necessarily under- January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 12
  • 11. School School Events Events On turning 10! Shreya Vora captures the highlights of SMU’s 10th birthday celebrations Photos by Tan Zeyan, Michael Ng Wai Ting and Patron’s Day Committee W e’re finally 10. What a celebra- Free flow! MegaTwister was a game developed right tion it was! A sea of students We were drawn like bees are to honey, to from scratch for this special occasion. wearing the 10VE SMU the well-stocked food stalls, enticing us Nine teams battled it out fiercely, but the t-shirts shed off their studious personas with goodies ranging from ice-cream to Dragon Ball 1 team beat the rest to win for a while, and came together at Campus hot and spicy Ramly burgers! While no the war. Good job guys! Green to salute SMU’s ten years of excel- one complained about the free Mountain lence, effort and endurance. The three Dew and 7UP Revive which quenched our Bouncing to the beat months of hard work and planning put in thirst in the scorching heat, it was the free The new, peppy soundtracks that were by the organising committee culminated beer that kept everyone’s spirits high. being played added to the fun and frolic. in the most happening ‘birthday party’ in Those in search of a little more thrill and town! We recapture for you the ten most Poker with a twist excitement bounced their way through exciting activities at this fiesta: A combination of Twister and Poker, the music on the bungee trampoline. 13 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 12. School Events Face-off! dent life at SMU was portrayed through Faculty have made our institution reach The different CCAs and school teams let the displays of the different Constituent new heights of success. their muscles do the talking and compet- Bodies such as the SICS, SMUX, SSU, SMU ed against each other, while the rest of the Icon, etc. This display, along with the SMU’s got talent! school rooted for their favourite teams, warm greetings from the SMU faculty and The celebratory performances by Just So, in the most energy-filled event of the day, students, was a perfect welcome to SMU Eurhythmix and Samba Masala added an- the Tug-o-War. The Sailing team and Bon- Patron, President SR Nathan, who graced other dimension to the formal segment of due emerged as the champion tuggers. the occasion. the celebrations. They indeed portrayed the true flavour of SMU’s spirit and cul- Artistic expressions Words of wisdom ture. The ceremony was concluded with A hand-drawn caricature, beautiful Hen- The ceremony was inaugurated by the Chamber Choir seeking blessings for na on your hands and a creative airbrush President Howard Hunter, whose words, SMU in Irish. design on your casual top — all for a mere “In less than a decade, SMU has grown S$25! Where else would you get such a from an idea on the drawing board to a Soaring high great deal? No wonder these stalls were so vibrant university,” perfectly described In the days leading up to Patron’s Day, overcrowded! the University’s growth in a nutshell. Mr. some members of the SMU community Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman of the Board of — students, faculty and staff alike – had Spectacular spectacles Trustees, highlighted how SMU is syn- penned their wishes for the University’s The stilt walkers and a magician com- onymous to an agent of change and urged tenth birthday on three gigantic, com- pleted the transformation of the Campus us to continue our pursuit for excellence. memorative balloons. On D-day, the pink, Green into a carnival ground. The various The third speaker of the day was Mr Lim white and blue balloons soared high and stalls and joy-ride added to the ambience. Kong Wee, Valedictorian of the Graduat- lit up the sky at dusk. ing Class of 2004. Remembering his days A walk to remember at SMU, he spoke about how the faith of Of course, that was by no means the end. A glimpse of the vibrant and dynamic stu- the students and the effort put in by the In fact, the party had just begun! Students January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 14
  • 13. School Events satisfied their building hunger-pangs at the all-you-can-eat mass barbeque and feasted their eyes at the SMU-ASEAN Artist Residency Exhibition, Content: A Navigating Point at T-junction. This was followed by parties at student hotspots - Screme and Ice Cold B’s. As promised to us, everyone was truly a VIP at this birthday bash. Remembering the past and anticipating the bright future, we commemorated the tenth year of our exis- tence in a very memorable way indeed. Here’s to SMU — We 10ve You! 15 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 14. School Events Meet your perfect brew in school Saunders Shen keeps up with beer appreciation — SMU Barworkz newest hobby S MU Barworkz, in collaboration with a group of NTU students, organised the first ever beer appreciation event at SMU recently. From 12 to 2 pm on the 14th of January, “Meet your Perfect Brew” and Brewerkz offered SMU students free beer samples ranging from Iguana to Fruit and Golden Ale to Oatmeal.  One of the organisers, Chrystal Chan who is a fourth-year student from NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information had initiated this project. Together with her team of like-minded in- dividuals, they are striving to reach out to tertiary level students here in Singapore. The team intends to offer students an alternative to the conventional hard li- quor and spirits that most students would consume during their “down time”. Their aim is to raise awareness and change the perception that people have towards beer.  introducitng the various types of beer Not only did this project aim to allow that Brewerkz has to offer. Their intention students to appreciate the taste of beer, “The complexities involved in the appre- is to show that there are alternatives to but also it aimed to increase awareness ciation of beer can be equally as challeng- the regular Tiger or Carlsberg found in on the beer brewing process and how ing and fun as wine,” said Chrystal. the market. Brewerkz offers an exciting Brewerkz differentiates itself with their array of beers, from interesting fruit beers unique flavours. Beer unfortunately had long been as- to more exotic flavours like pumpkin sociated with the negative image of infused beers. This is the first event of its kind to be “old-uncles” sitting by the coffee shops, co-hosted by Barworkz. Barworkz is an drinking beer while watching a soccer Tan Jin Li, who is assisting Chrystal in SMU Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) that match according to Chrystal. Students do this project, has admitted that a plau- focuses more on cocktails, flair bartend- not like to be associated with this image sible disinterest in beer could possibly ing (the art of manipulating bar tools for and hence avoid consuming beer. stemmed from its lack of availability. The entertainment e.g. juggling the bottles) project’s target audience, being tertiary and promotes bartending skills. There are also others who are repulsed by students, frequent clubs like Zouk or The the slight bitterness of beer. “By varying Butter Factory for a night of party and Barworkz may look into further devel- the basic ingredients of the beer brewing many have a preference for hard liquor. oping beer appreciation courses if the process, the acidity of the drink can be response from the school is good. altered to suit one’s taste,” said Chrystal. Brewekrz has brought beer to another “Like wine with its grapes - it is all about level of appreciation but their beer finding the right beer.” choices are not readily available at the clubs. Nevertheless, Brewerkz prides itself With the help of Brewerkz, a popular as an alternate joint for relaxation and/or chain of restaurants that brews its own a place to have silly banter with friends beers, Chrystal and her team have been and colleagues. January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 16
  • 15. SSU Sports Awards Night Honour Roll W SSU Smart Jock Award Catherine Chua, SMU Sailing “I thought no one was looking” Award Ong Jet Wui, SMU Run Team Sports at its best SMU Best Biceps Award Allen Poon, SMU Dragonboat Ephraim Loy attends the SSU Sports Awards Night SSU Hottest Legs Award Agnes Yap, Women’s Rugby I f there was one thing that made the SMU Sailing was a big winner at this year’s Concourse Head Turner Award annual SSU Sports Award Night a ceremony bagging four awards in total. And SMU Track and Field memorable one, it would be the format it is not an easy feat. The team had been of presenting the awards. Not to mention the working hard since last year and has been Face of SSU Award pun the organisers adopted for their tagline supportive of SSU events over the past year. Ashley Liew, SMU Aquathlon — super awesome night. From getting nomi- nees to drink a clear liquid from a shot glass, Said Christopher: “The team put a lot of to a pole dance item by winning SSU Team effort. There’s no secret to success and ev- Competitive Excellence Club Award of the Year, SMU Dragonboat, there wasn’t an eryone played their role well. The club takes 09/10 awesome lack of stunts. in new people and it is the well structured SMU Sailing training programme and the commitment The event took a markedly different approach. and dedication of the seniors that help to Sportsman of the Year Award While previous awards ceremonies organised train the new members. It is about mentor- Koh Seng Leong, SMU Sailing by SSU were held in SMU, this year’s event was ship, faith in the structure and the sending of held at The Butter Factory. freshmen for competitions.” Sportswoman of the Year Award Tan Siobhan, SMU Sailing “Sports Awards Night is a casual affair, not Proceeds from the event will be channeled about regime - it is about showing a different towards fund-raising for SSU according to its side of sportsmen and sportswomen,” de- Events Manager, Poon Wei Xian. SSU Team of the Year Award scribed by SMU Sailing’s President, Christo- SMU Dragonboat pher Lim, who also contributed to the mood of the event through his role as the emcee.
  • 16. School Events 10th SMUSA sworn in Michael Ng sums up the SMUSA Annual General Meeting 2010 play a pivotal role as well. She cited past dialogue sessions with the faculty that sought to bridge the gap between faculty and students. We are students too “Just like you, we are students,” incoming SMUSA President Sophia Lo acknowl- edged. “Your journey in SMU will not be lonely. SMUSA will always be there with you and for you.” She also revealed that there would be more regular feedback sessions for the students. SMUSA would also be look- ing to interact and communicate with students via Facebook as well. T his year’s SMUS Annual General Internally, the outgoing Exco faced some Meeting brought an end to the challenges. On separate occasions, two Sophia also highlighted that there has bumpy ride for the outgoing Exco members of the Exco left due to personal been increasing importance placed on and unloaded a new burden on shoulders issues. The remaining members took on striving for academic excellence by SMU for the incoming one. the extra responsibilities as they felt that students. Thus, the 6th Students’ As- they were able to handle it on their own. sociation Council (SAC) will aim to help The outgoing SMUSA Exco presented The duties were either administrative in students cope with academic excellence. their past achievements to the students nature, or overlapped with other Exco present. Many ad-hoc issues, which the members’ roles. After alerting the relevant In a separate meeting with Tessa Ang, Exco was not prepared for, such as the offices regarding the situation, SMUSA SMUSA Vice-President, it was revealed change in the Group Study Room booking President Rachel Kok said, “We braced that the school CBd’s will be streamlin- policies and the recent rise in carpark ourselves, sucked it up and just did it.” ing events such as Know Thy Major talks rates were cited. and opening more networking sessions There was also trouble with succession for students with professionals from the In addition, a new position in the Exco in this year’s Elections Committee. The field. was initiated to meet changing needs. past practice has always been that one This included an International Students’ member from the previous commit- The SMUSA Exco will also be looking Secretary to manage the affairs of the tee would stay behind to head the new into BOSS bidding, and find ways to increasing international student popula- committee. This year, however, all four of improve the system for students. They tion in SMU. the past committee members had either will be releasing the student satisfac- graduated or were on exchange. Thus, the tion survey soon to compile figures on The SMUSA Exco further streamlined committee was formed purely from FTB the academic issues that students face. financial paperwork for clubs with the facilitators who happened to be available. Substantial recommendations for change introduction of a cashless deposit via AXS to the university administration would be machines and a new claims process. A In her final speech as SMUSA President, made thereafter. dialogue session was held with student Rachel Kok commented that the respon- constituent representatives to discuss on- sibility of the changes to student life does going financial issues. Budget standards not only lie in the hands of the SA. Rather, were also set for clubs to keep expendi- staff from the administration offices, fac- tures in check. ulty and the general student population January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 18
  • 17. School Events SMUBE’s new policy questioned Michael Ng revisits the debate on student remuneration A new policy by the SMU Broadcast whether they need grand scale sound “There may be instances where friends and Entertainment (SMUBE) to system,” Michael Quilindo, SMUBE Vice- with DSLRs will volunteer to cover events charge clubs for providing emcees, President said. SMUBE sees the rate card or take Exco photos pro bono. However, equipment, and stagehands has roused at- as pushing organisers to do better plan- that should not be an expectation placed tention on campus. A rate card, listing the ning for their events since there is money on all photographers,” according to a pricing and conditions, was formed with involved. It should be fine as long as clubs statement from the club. the approval of the Office of Student Life budget for their events properly, now that (OSL), Arts and Cultural Fraternity (ACF) OSL and SA are fully aware of the rates. “Taking on an assignment involves tre- and the Student’s Association Council. mendous effort before and after the actual Compensation shoot, and photographers should be “The fact is that we are just a club that The ethical debate on whether students rewarded and recognised for their work,” fosters interest and we help people learn should be compensated for their efforts on the statement reiterated. about all aspects of media,” said Amanda campus is not new. Voon, SMUBE President. “Helping other “In addition, photographers own and clubs is just a sideline effort that has SMUBE’s official release on the remu- maintain their own equipment, and these grown over the years,” she added. neration states that the policy “give(s) our costs should definitely be covered … Just members an incentive to continue sup- because the photographer happens to be a The SMUBE situation porting (clubs) events on top of their own student of the same educational institute First and foremost, SMUBE is obliged to BE activities and schoolwork”. Michael does not detract from the fact that effort provide their services to certain universi- feels that members of SMUBE are always has been put in and the use of his/her ty-wide events demarked by OSL, and em- the “unsung heroes” behind events. There equipment incurs costs on the part of the cees on the Arts Excellence Programme needs to be some token of appreciation for photographer,” explained SMUSAIC. (AEP) have to serve for ACF events as well their efforts. as university-wide events. ACF events A compromise come free as SMUBE receives long-term When asked if students were taken advan- People familiar with the situation have annual funding and support from ACF tage of because they worked for free Art- said that providing stagehands is already and OSL. dicted President, Lin Ding Xiang replied: at a cheaper rate. Without providing “Sometimes, if students do not understand financial incentives, SMUBE would SMUBE serves over 90 events per term, why they do something they are asked to simply not have anyone left to do events bringing it to an average of three events do, they will usually end up feeling that and clubs will have to foot the full cost of per week. It reserves the right to reject they’ve been taken for granted. Hence, it hiring external organisers. requests from clubs. “It’s not nice, espe- is always important for them to question cially when (clubs) come in last minute themselves or the person who assigned the SMUBE also proposed that for smaller and don’t have any alternatives,” Amanda task, why they are doing it.” events, clubs could borrow Passport commented. Fenders-simple-to-use portable amplifiers Ding Xiang added that “the school pro- from SMUBE for free to cut costs. Resource allocation vides all the necessary opportunities and “Any creative service depends on man- platforms for students to expose them- Also, events organised by schools or power, availability, etc. Resource alloca- selves within their area of interest. And school CBds should look to seek help tion is crucial.” SMUSAIC commented in return, the students should give back from the IITS (previously known as on SMUBE’s rate card: “A rate card will to the school by providing services that CIT), which supports requests for audio help (SMUBE) focus energy on more require their area of specialisation.” visual equipment from academic schools important events, and sieve out those that (including CBds), centres and corporate lack support to the artistes, performers or SMUSAIC, on the other hand, feels dif- offices, but not CCA clubs. insincere and half-baked proposals.” ferently when asked whether students should charge for their on-campus assign- “Event organisers will have to think ments. 19 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 18. School Events Being young and married in SMU Anthony Angela sits down and discusses marriage in SMU B eing young at SMU is not a big divorce rate has been on the deal. After all, everyone’s between Financial rise, from 4,705 in 2006 the age of 18 to 24 for the ladies concerns to 5,155 in 2008 ac- and a little older for the guys. But being could easily cording to the young and married would send many become a Depart- heads turning and lead to gossip that problem ment of would spread like wildfire, through the for couples Statistics. concourse, to all six schools. who Such forget the rates, But before anyone starts thinking “shot- practical though worrying, gun”, there are those, in our school, that aspects of do not shake Aaron’s con- are not shotgun triggered. Aaron Khoo Fu marriage. fidence in his union. Chern’s marriage is one example. He wed Aaron last October as the term was nearing to an said that “Because I come from end and recounted to me what his friends’ while he a Christian back- first reactions were. “They thought I was had used ground, we try our best bluffing them. They could not believe many not to resort to divorce. It is it until we showed them the ring,” he of his really the Biblical principle that laughed. contacts, you shouldn’t. At the most, we go for the entire wedding, including the photo counseling.” The idea of marriage had begun when shoot, still cost him around $40,000. Un- Aaron joked with his mother about get- less one is already working, footing such a To play it safe, Aaron also underwent a ting married on the 10 October, 2009. The bill would be difficult. pre-marital course to help him and his effect of such an idea sparked an immedi- other half prepare for life after mar- ate response. “My mother took me seri- For Aaron, his parents footed the bill. Aar- riage. “I met up with my pastor to talk us ously and told me to go and book now!” on recalled: “They said if they make a loss, through, to make sure we know what we he remembers clearly. As unique as such they will take it. If there were any profits, are getting into before we get into it. So, a response is, Aaron’s family had seen the they will keep it. I think my parents were we are more mentally prepared in case marriages of all his sibling sisters — and very kind to sponsor the whole thing.” anything goes wrong and hopefully noth- with him married, his parents, particu- ing will go wrong,” Aaron said. larly his mother, would be more at ease. In fact, this has been the case for shotgun “My mother said that with me married, a marriages too. Timothy Hsi, Assistant Such marriage preparatory courses are burden had been lifted off her shoulders.” Director at the Centre of Counseling and available through various religious Guidance at SMU shared that in shotgun communities and are also offered by the Aaron is a part of the minority of males marriages parents are generally sup- Ministry of Community Development, who have married below the general portive of their children once the issue Youth and Sports. marrying age of 29 (for guys) as published is exposed to them. However, he also in the Department of Statistics database. highlighted that support from friends is Considering Aaron’s love story, one can He reflects on his choice to marry young equally important due to the image that somewhat understand that there is noth- as one that enhances stability. “Once you pregnant girls who are still studying have. ing quite wrong with marrying young. get married, you have less to think about. There’s this uncertainty about the whole “In our culture, we’re still very Asian and dating thing that sometimes keeps a though we seem to be more westernised person distracted.” and open-minded, we are still very con- -Such distraction, though eliminated, servative.” does not replace other issues that arise with marrying early. As conservative as we are, Singapore’s January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 20
  • 19. ADVERTORIAL { ask the financial experts } Certified financial advisers from Prudential answer your questions on money matters 1. How do I decide whether to take on more installment plans for my purchases? Is there any way to calculate the limit? As a general rule, we should not use more than 35% of our net take-home pay to service our loans. For example, if John’s take-home pay is $1,000, he should not spend more than $350 a month to service his loans. Before we start a purchase installment plan or take on another one, we must first determine whether the purchase is a need or a want. If John wants to change his TV that is working fine to a brand new 42 inch flat screen TV - just because he wants to - it is definitely a want. It will not benefit him by entering into an installment plan and getting into debt. Chan Keng Leong, CFP, ChFC, MBA Installment plans for purchases seem attractive as they enable one to own things without actually paying in full. It also allows the consumer to buy numerous Chan Keng Leong joined Prudential Assur- items with the same monetary amount. For example, if John has $1,000 to spend ance Singapore in 1994 and is now a Finan- on his new house’s electrical appliances, he can either purchase one flat screen cial Services Director. He achieved numer- 42 inch TV that costs $1,000 or he can use instalment plans to purchase five ous awards and recognition, including $1,000 items, paying $200 down-payment for each of the items. Sounds good, Life Member of the Million Dollar Round right? However, John is now a slave to his loans for a long time, paying interest Table and ranked Top 3 amongst Senior which benefits the credit company. To make matters worse, if John defaults on Financial Services Managers. He is also the these installments, the creditors will re-possess these items, which leaves John creator of Prudential’s sales programme - with nothing! The Prudential Way System. 2. Is there a way I can mitigate the risk of cyclical unemployment? (i.e. every Keng Leong is among the first batch of three to five years) local Certified Financial Planners (CFP) in Singapore in Year 2000. He was the Head Cyclical unemployment occurs when there is not enough aggregate demand in of Certification and Examination in Fi- the economy. It varies with the business cycle – it rises during economic down- nancial Planning Association of Singapore turns and falls when the economy improves. During a downturn, the demand (FPAS) for four years. He was also FPAS’ falls for most goods and services, hence less production is needed and conse- immediate past Vice President. quently fewer workers are needed & unemployment results. As a financial planning practitioner, Keng If you are in a job that is affected by cyclical business cycles, take action well Leong is a frequent writer of financial in advance of any developments. Constantly upgrade your skills to ensure that articles in the local newspaper. He is a you stay relevant. Lateral transfers, additional duties and responsibilities, and well sought-after speaker and has spoken even internal job applications are all good ways of avoiding any crisis. During a at many local conventions and seminars, restructuring exercise, choose new jobs if you are given a choice, as they will be including LUA Singapore, insurance com- stable for a while. panies, Singapore Institute of Banking and Finance, MoneySense, MINDEF etc. He has The alternative is to switch to jobs which are not in danger of being restructured. also spoken on many overseas platforms, This requires doing more work but it is worth it. You can also do this as a form of including the prestigious Million Dollar career progression too, adding value to your CV. Round Table Annual Meeting. He has been interviewed frequently for his views on However, dodging bullets is a lot easier if you are not in the target zone. Choose financial matters. industries or sectors that are inmune or have a lesser impact from cyclical unemployment (e.g. education, healthcare or civil services etc.). Generally these sectors are cushioned & spared from cyclical business movements. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Even if you are in ‘vulnerable’ jobs, so long as you keep acquiring skills that your chosen industry requires, you will not fear when the dreadful day comes.
  • 20. School Events Writing can be a form of student activism Shobana Nadaraja finds out why from this publication’s Editor-in-Chief W riting is a form of student ministration for holding on to its beliefs. editor is also a diplomat, someone with activism if the words of “We receive calls from the offices when strong project management skills and Ephraim Loy, Editor-in-Chief we touch on sensitive issues. However, has to feel the pulse of life on campus,” of The Blue and Gold, are anything to go as long as our claims are backed up by he adds. by. evidence there is nothing too sensitive that cannot appear in The Blue and Gold. “Initially it went up, then it steeped The recent SMU graduate now works for Ultimately we are the representatives of downwards, after which it rose up the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Or- students’ voices and they have the right to again. If you were to ask me if I regret ganising Committee but is still evidently be well-informed.” not focusing solely on my studies, I will addicted to this school publication. say no without any hesitation. Not only One such incident was the stolen BIZ- have I been actively involved in school He recalls the early years of his as a writer COM T-shirts which had rippled rumors activities but also in external activities. with the now defunct SMU publication throughout the student body. “As a publi- Through my social interaction outside, I Vie. cation, we strive to report on issues that had managed to secure two internships students are concerned about. And this which have proven to be a valuable expe- “My first article hit out at a poorly organ- was something on everyone’s lips - there rience to my personal development. My ised student activity by the SMU Students’ was so little information in the open and philosophy in life is that maintaining an Association (SMUSA) in 2006. SMUSA has so much speculation on what had hap- excellent GPA is not everything. Having evolved over the years though there were pened.” Ephraim recalls. said that, I am not denying that GPA is im- fewer candidates putting themselves up portant but having an extensive network for office,” he reflects. The activist streak in him set a chain of outside of school is also important,” he events in place including requesting a says matter-of-factly. “The team started The Blue and Gold from statement from the Dean of Students on scratch in 2007. We had no resources – the incident and meeting with SMU’s Ephraim elaborates that the skills SMU just a group of enthusiastic students.” senior management on the issue a few has imparted have been practical. For days later. instance, he mentions that the numerous The new publication started off as a presentations over the years have given newspaper which later became a student Ephraim hopes that clearer communica- him the confidence to put across his magazine. The Blue and Gold was a tion can be established by having more ideas and to actively seek opportunities vehicle to engage students in discussion dialogue sessions or even having SMUSA independently. But more importantly, be- of issues that are dear to them, aimed to parliament sessions. ing part of The Blue and Gold has geared provide students with facts and figures to him to be involved in student activism make informed decisions. “This SMUSA parliament session can be — something that is evident even now, convened twice in a year. Perhaps months within The Blue and Gold. Ephraim shared that he feels that writing before parliament sits, members from the is a form of non-violent protest. It not SAC can go around soliciting feedback only uses peaceful means to solve con- from students. When SMUSA parliament flicting issues but is powerful enough to is in session, members in the SAC debate represent the voice of the students. openly amongst themselves about issues they feel strongly for in front of students,” “Do not keep issues within yourself. Voice he suggests. it out, talk about it and find solutions for improvement but make sure you have the While there are the challenging situa- facts to back it up,” he says. tions an Editor-in-Chief has to face, noth- ing beats being in the part of the team at Sometimes, however, the publication has the Blue and Gold. “You know, an editor to face the pressure from the school ad- is not an individual that only edits but an January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 22
  • 21. Digital “ School Events As a publication, we strive to report on issues that students are concerned about.” Section Ephraim Loy Editor-in Chief, The Blue and Gold Digital Collaboration Made Easy Lee Jun Kit checks out applications that make life simpler Not just black and white: Student activism should be encouraged in an institution that thrives itself on being confident and articulate. Photo by Wayne Lim Ting Ke 23 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 22. School Events Getting a life — Managing CCAs and GPAs Naren Gunawardana speaks to students to find out how they have the time to actively pursue their CCAs A s the night sky began to swallow the sun this Tuesday evening, a group of approximately 50 boys and girls huddled together, warming up their muscles while engaging in friendly banter. It seemed as though a bunch of friends had come for an evening walk. This bunch of seemingly care-free friends split up into smaller groups and embarked on their lung-busting, muscle ripping circuit- trainings. Students are known to complain about the ‘rat-race’ culture in SMU which gives them very little time to engage them- selves in non- academic pursuits. “We have no life!” is a top contender for the most overheard statement in the library. Deadlines, which are perceived in the very literal sense of the word, are the root cause of many red-eyed students drowning in coffee. Therefore, we can safely assume that every waking second of an SMU student’s life is spent buried under heaps of academic literature. But what about those students who ac- tively participate in CCAs? How is it that they find the time to participate in these? Liu Jianrong, Captain of the SMU Drag- onboat team and second-year economics student, insists that the key to a perfect equilibrium between academics and CCAs is “time management”. Despite training for up to 12 hours a week, he is able to find time to do his work. He does so by working according to a strict sched- ule and with the support of his friends. “Even though the training is tough and time consuming, everyone should try this sport. It has taught me the valuable lesson of time management as well,” said January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 24
  • 23. School Events the modest Captain. Many of the other the time to pursue them. “If you love unsuitable nature of this club, rather than members share this sentiment. what you’re doing, it’s pretty easy to find lack of time on the part of the students, ways to accommodate everything you was the main reason for the small mem- Kimberly Wee Wei-ling, a second-year ac- have to do! The heart-pumping, inspira- ber-base. “There are fewer people because countancy student added that the family tional beats and the people behind them it’s not suitable for a business school. My atmosphere within the team ensures a ensure that there’s never a dull moment,” special interest in astronomy motivated great deal of team bonding. said Jessica, on her way to Samba Masala me to stay in the club for two years, but practice. She also claimed that “one learns now it’s unlikely that we can continue,” “We spend a lot of time with each other, to fight the urge to procrastinate” simply he stated quite dishearteningly. even studying and having meals to- because there is no time to do so. The gether,” said Kimberly, exhausted after popularity and excitement generally as- This is a good time to reflect on how far training. The passion for achievement sociated with larger CCAs such as Samba we’ve come and also to prepare for the and unfailing support from their peers Masala is one of the reasons why they at- arduous conclusion to yet another term. motivates them to find that 25th hour in tract and retain such a large member base. As we struggle to meet our deadlines and the day. contemplate on how the others seem However, not all CCAs succeed in doing to have an eighth day in their week to ‘Love’ is a highly subjective topic, to say so. In fact, the smaller the group, the pursue their CCAs, we tend to overlook the least. Some think it is what makes the greater is the sense of ownership and be- the basic principle of making every hour world go round, while others compare it longing inculcated among the members. count, rather than counting every hour. to the flu and other similar pandemics. An SMU Astronomy Club (who wishes So stop being a mere onlooker standing Jessica Joyce Lee Juan, a first-year Eco- to remain anonymous) revealed that the behind the glass windows of the library. nomics student who is in no less than six dedicated group of six members were con- Step out and join in. Quickly though. CCAs, cited love as her secret for making sidering closing shop. He stated that the After all, time is of the essence. 25 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 24. ADVERTORIAL “POP”ping into right career A overview of Prudential’s professional profiling tool Recently, our sole sponsor, Prudential, kindly provided the editorial team a overview of their profiling tool using Personal Orientation Profile (POP7). Michael Ng and Angela Anthony share their experiences. “Not only did I discover Michael Ng Having taken other tests such as MAPP and The report shows the scores into ‘inher- ent traits’ as well as trainable skills. Steven some strengths that I never DISC as well, I knew that it was important showed a matrix of high and low scores. Of to respond quickly without too much think- course people with good traits and do not had the confidence to put ing. It also helped that I was not applying need much training are excellent for the on my resume, I also had for a job, not under any pressure to reply the Financial Consultant role. Candidates with questions “correctly”, and messing up the the right skills but not the right inherent a pretty good idea where data. traits are fine but they require more training and what I need to do to and coaching. Prudential believes in selecting A few weeks later, we dropped by Pruden- people with the right attitude, but lacking in plan my career path.” tial’s office to get our reports explained. skills. This will help the individual to achieve better results in the long run. The first thing that I saw on the report is a graphic of a ‘green’ traffic light a sign that I The things I picked up after Steven had was suitable for a sales career! This was rather explained the scores was that I had the traits surprising, given that I had never really liked for not just a sales career but also that of a sales. journalist as well. Scores showed that I am able to self manage my results, prefer an We were given a background presentation unstructured management style, and that I about POP7 by Steven Lau, it is here that I am highly investigative. Too investigative for began to find out a lot more about Pruden- a sales career might mean the would likely tial’s hiring policies, and how serious they are bore the customer with technical details of in providing opportunities for their Financial the product, but not sell the product. Consultants to build their careers. My resistance towards sales showed up Steven showed us the equation: Talent x in the extremely low score in ‘openness to Habit x Opportunity. ‘Talent’ encompasses prospecting for sales through social contacts’. the inherent and trainable parts of a person, I had always strived to keep professional ‘Habit’ refers to the attitude and effort one and personal matters separate, with neither puts, and most importantly ‘Opportunity’ is crossing paths. Although reports showed I providing the right career and work experi- have great potential for a sales career, it also ence to the employee. The whole equation underpinned my resistance towards prospect- then drives ‘Performance’. It is refreshing to ing for sales might not work out well. More know that Prudential does not see its people importantly, the report provided areas that I as resources, but as customers. A true service could work on, the training I require in order attitude pervades from the management level to succeed in sales, and how management all the way to the most junior staff in the could communicate with me. hierarchy. Candidates are also given reports on their Going into the report, Steven explained that strong points, and how they could improve for POP7, it is not just about the highs and themselves in other areas as well. This proved lows of each individual score, but the correla- to be of great use to me. Not only did I tion of multiple indices and what they mean discover some strengths that I never had the for the individual. For example, a person confidence to put on my resume, I also had a may warm up to strangers quickly but if he pretty good idea where and what I need to do is extremely driven by results and does not to plan my career path listen well, he ends up being pushy. January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 26
  • 25. ADVERTORIAL “I felt I understood more about myself and my ability to work in a competitive sales environment. It was definitely a good thing and it made me rethink what I could consider doing in future.” Anthony Angela He assured us that the ‘Attitudes’ scores The experience was much like doing a survey (like my Listening Style) can improve with with the ultimate objective of discovering experience and coaching. He also provided whether I am suitable for a competitive sales many examples and was thorough in his Register for Prudential’s Career Semi- career. explanation of the different measurements nar and try out the profiling tool for used in POP7. yourself! Before I did the POP7 test, I had a lot of skepticism since most of the personality tests After listening to his explanation, I felt I Here are the dates for Year 2010: I’ve taken are usually subjective since some of understood more about myself and my ability 9 March (Tuesday) the attributes are based on situational forces. to work in a competitive sales environment. 31 March (Wednesday) As I did the test, I realised that the questions It was definitely a good thing and it made 20 April (Tuesday) were a lot more specific than I had initially me rethink what I could consider doing in 19 May (Wednesday) thought. I was actually looking forward to future. 23 June (Wednesday) the results. 20 July (Tuesday) It also provided me with insights on my ‘peo- 24 August (Tuesday) My initial reaction upon getting the report ple’ and ‘investigative skills’ which confirmed 15 September(Wednesday) was “How did it find out so much about my beliefs in what professions I should 19 October (Tuesday) me?” The summary of scores and cautions work towards and how I would perform in a 11 November (Thursday) provided a good overview of my potential. I working environment. Lastly, after Steven’s 15 December(Wednesday) was surprised that I am considered ‘highly explanation of my ’Attitudes’ scores, I realised enterprising’ (according to my results) since I what I should focus on changing and what I Venue: have always wanted to work for others rather should enhance. PruHall, Prudential@Scotts than for myself. 51 Scotts Road #01-02 Looking at my future, I feel like I have (next to Newton MRT Station) Apart from that, other things like a high ‘in- more confidence in myself to take a job in a dependence score’ served to confirm what I competitive industry. The explanations from Time: know about myself. However, I was shocked Prudential’s friendly and proficient staff 6pm - 7pm: Registration & Refreshments that I scored really low for ‘Listening Style’: I only added to my confidence and made me 7pm - 9pm: Seminar knew I was not a good listener but I did not believe that I could reach my potential. Now know I was that bad! It was certainly a wake- a sales career does not look as scary as I once Send an email to ad.recruitment@pru- up call for me. thought. with the following details and we’ll contact you shortly! The staff at Prudential were really helpful. For starters, Steven Lau, from the Acad- <Name> <Contact No.> <Email> <Citi- emy of Competence & Excellence zenship> <Course of study><Preferred department,explained that POP7 is a date of seminar> psychometric assessment for identifying top performers for competitive sales jobs. 27 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 26. Worldscope Environmental Efforts: The Big Three Sumedha Jalote studies the issues in climate change through three major agreements T he past two decades have seen that the costs of the protocol outweigh Climate Change Secretariat every two more environmental movements the benefits; many think that the years. The states also agreed to raise than ever before. Al Gore’s docu- agreement is inequitable and inefficient, funds to the amount of $100 billion mentary, ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ intro- and will do little to curb greenhouse per year from 2020 to help developing duced popular opinion to the dangers of gas emissions. However, as it stands, the countries reduce emissions. In January global warming, and scientific consensus agreement is at least legally enforceable. 2010, the US and Canadian governments has led to some international cooperation If an Annex I country does not comply committed to reduce emissions by 17% over climate change. with its emissions limitation, then that by 2020, and the Australian government country is required to make up the by 5%. Although the agreement is The recognition that global warming difference plus an additional 30% of the not legally enforceable, it requires transcends all political and economic difference. participants to allow international boundaries, and requires cohesive efforts, scrutiny of their efforts. has forced unlikely global partners to The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean team up and engage in international Development and Climate (APP) is an The world has taken steps to mitigate cooperation. agreement more specific to Asia. The the man-made harm inflicted on the APP is a non-enforceable agreement environment, but these efforts are not Among the multitude of environmental signed between Australia, China, India, enough. Most countries are hesitant to summits and agreements reached, three Japan, US, South Korea and Canada ratify legally enforceable emission cuts are particularly worth mentioning not in 2005. These states account for over and even the US hasn’t even ratified the only due to what they entailed but also 50% of the world’s total greenhouse gas Kyoto Protocol. due to the diverse responses and reactions emissions, energy consumption, GDP of international partners bound to them. and population. Most environmental agreements we see today are non-treaties, relying on The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the The partner countries agreed to voluntary, non-enforceable targets. United Nation Framework Convention co-operate on development and International efforts, the way they stand, on Climate Change (UNFCC). While the transfer to greenhouse emission- are not enough to control the global UNFCC is a non-binding treaty between reducing technology, and on reducing rise of temperatures. Governments members, it allows for updates called emissions. However, with no mandatory need to put global warming at a higher protocols which would hold members to enforcement mechanism, the APP level on their priority list, and start mandatory emission limits. has been criticised for a lack of legal formulating stricter measures to save the enforceability. In fact, in 2006, a year environment from complete degradation The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in after the agreement was signed, none and collapse. 1997 and came into force in 2005, with of the members had cut emissions of 187 states having signed and ratified it. greenhouse gases. Under this protocol, 37 industrialised countries, classified as “Annex I”, such as The recent Copenhagen Accord is France, Germany, Greece etc, committed another non-enforceable agreement themselves to a 5.2% reduction of drafted by China, India, US, South Africa greenhouse gas emissions. The protocol and Brazil. The agreement endorses the includes several flexible mechanisms continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and to allow Annex I countries to meet their recognises the scientific consensus that emission limitations by purchasing temperature increase needs to be limited emission reductions credits from to 2 degrees Celsius. elsewhere, projects that reduce emissions in non-Annex I countries, etc. The member states are to submit voluntary emission targets in 2020, and Many environmental economists think report mitigation actions to the UN January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 28
  • 27. I’m a BANKER But I don’t just deal with figures Owners rely on me to expand their fleet. Every transaction I make can be worth millions. I manage important contracts and I fly around the globe to seal them. I’m a Shipping Banker. - Robin Chan, DnB NOR Bank The job of a shipping banker requires knowledge in finance and an analytical mind. The Singapore maritime industry is home to 5,000 maritime companies, with more than 100,000 people in the maritime workforce. Singapore is set to be one of the world’s leading international maritime centres. Join this dynamic and global sector and be part of this exciting buzz. Visit to find out more.
  • 28. Worldscope Major Environment Conferences By Talisa Kaur Dhaliwal IPCC/Geneva, Switzerland IPCC for short, the International Panel of Climate Change stems from the United Nations Environment Programme and World Meteorological Organisation. It differs from other global environmental initiatives as it offers scientific explanations on the current state of the environment and its plausible ramifications. Thousands of scientists are part of this body and often offer conflicting reports on the state of the environment, thus sparking off debates on man and his effect on planet earth. Copenhagen Accord, Denmark For the first time in history, the Copenhagen Accord brought together all the important global players-China, India, Brazil, US, Russia, Japan, and the EU- affirming their commitment to tackle environmental degradation. Unlike its predecessors, the Copenhagen Accord placed developed and developing countries on equal steed and recognised that it was crucial for both to participate in reducing emissions. Montreal Protocol, Montreal/Canada Hailed as the “most effective climate treaty to date”, the Montreal Protocol targets the reduction of chlorofluorocarbons in developing countries. It is lauded for its method of lending financial assistance to such countries in order to help them adopt environmentally-friendly measures. Washington Declaration, Washington Graced by the delegates from the US government and European Commission, this conference, held in 1995, adopted the global programme of to protect the marine environment from land-based activities. It demonstrated a fervent need to protect and preserve the marine environment for future generations. January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 30
  • 29. Worldscope Environmental Action Programme for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Kyoto Protocol, Japan Central Asia (EECCA) countries, central Europe Probably the most famous and most The international community realised that environmental cited of all green initiatives, the degradation could be tackled best if it involved a joint effort of all Kyoto protocol was first adopted in countries. In 1993, the Environmental Action Programme for Central 1997. This international agreement and Eastern Europe established board strategies which included aimed to set binding targets for 37 prioritising the environment on national agendas and mobilising the industrialised nations worldwide populace to support environmentally friendly efforts. in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ASEAN Starting with the development of a series of sub-regional environmental programmes in 1977, ASEAN has been continuously introducing new means and ways of tackling environmental issues. ASEAN’s Vision for 2020 hopes to establish “mechanisms for sustainable development to ensure the protection of the region’s environment, the sustainability of its natural resources and the high quality of life of its peoples” (as taken from ASEAN’s website). This is coupled with 12 more strategies and 55 other programs to meet its goal. The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP) The APP, or Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, comprises seven Asia-Pacific countries: Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, and the United States. In total, these countries account for ‘more than half of the Illustration by Kelvin Atmadibrata world’s economy, population, and School of Arts, Design and Media, energy use’ as stated on the APP’s Nanyang Technology University website. It works to introduce clean energy in major sectors of the market. 31 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 30. Worldscope Reflections on the war on terror By Nadim Ali Kapadia T ake the name “9/11” today and cause for their actions anymore. The ter- we have seen a decline in the number of eyebrows begin to rise. This name rorist threat today is far more diffused and successful international terrorist incidents, traverses beyond representing a decentralised, often fueled by a revanchist there has been a rise in both the spread mere date or event, as it signs a rupture in ideology of achieving some greater politi- and the average number of casualties for the fabric of world history. cal objective. each successful small-scale incident that occurred. It was with great disbelief and shock that The September 11 attacks showed an the world witnessed the news footage of adversary that was highly cohesive and The fight against terrorism has shown the destruction of the World Trade Centre centrally organised, under the leadership not to be one for the faint hearted, feeble towers, in one of the worst terrorist attacks of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahi- minded or impatient; the international the United States has ever witnessed, tak- ri. Nevertheless, interventionist measures community will have to prevail in seek- ing the lives of close to 3,000 victims. that ensued led to the metamorphosis of ing improved solutions in handling new The actions and reactions that closely fol- new terrorist groups, many of which are situations which arise. Reflecting on past lowed this attack have changed the world linked in varying degrees of command and actions and measuring its benefits/costs dramatically. Today, the international com- control back to al-Qaeda’s senior leader- before subsequent action is one step the munity completes more than 9 years of its ship. They include groups such as the international community must strongly so-called ‘global war on terror’. Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jamiat-ul Ulema- take in managing this war. e-Pakistan and the Abu Sayyaf Group This war has resulted in millions of deaths (Malaysia). Have we over-reacted to terrorism? across the globe and many more injured. From the reactions to recent events such as Statistics indicate more than 100 000 have The war on terror today is a multi-dimen- the Fort Hood shootings and the attempted been killed directly from the war of terror, sional one: real vs. virtual, psychological bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day, which has created more than 5 million vs. physical and conventional vs. uncon- an over-reaction to terrorist attacks and at- refugees worldwide. The extraordinary ventional. Terrorist suspects from atypical tempts seems to be the general consensus scale of this war stretches from New York backgrounds are becoming a rising phe- adopted by most Western governments. to Bali and London to Lahore. nomena. The demographics of those being This neatly fulfills one of the key goals of taken in today on charges of terrorism are terrorism – to induce fear and panic. While The notion of a “war on terror” has been so diverse that many European counter- terrorists groups and networks have weak- a defining mark of the 21st century. For terrorism officials have almost given up ened considerably, resulting in numerous many, this phrase captures the gravity trying to predict what kind of people they foiled attempts, they have succeeded at of the threats faced, the need for inter- should be on the alert for. Age, sex, ethnic- most times in tipping governments and national solidarity and the urgency for ity, education and economic status are citizens off their balance. a well-planned response. Nevertheless, increasingly irrelevant. despite this, terrorists have survived efforts Terrorism is an unusual military tactic that to destroy them and have instead grown The Bali bombings, Mumbai hotel attacks, hinges upon the reaction of its onlook- stronger and more daring. The internation- arrest of individuals in Detroit, Denver ers. If they are not ‘terrorised,’ the plot al community today faces an increasingly and New York as well as the attempted miserably fails. Benjamin Friedman once urgent need to rethink its goals in this Christmas Day bomb attack on a US said, “One way to disarm terrorists is to war on terror. The issue is not whether we aircraft show the diverse range of agents convince regular Americans to stop wor- should attack and eliminate terrorism at counter-terrorism officials increasingly rying about them”. Terrorist attacks never its roots. We must. The question is how. have to deal with. carried the same buzz and fervor as they do today. Rather than rewarding the terrorists The changing terrorist The potential for an attack of a similar with our over-reaction, we should evaluate The terrorist today is different from the scale to September 11 may be low today. the costs of this and think of new ways we conventional brand of yesterday’s terrorist. However, the possibility of new attacks can channel our precious resources. Ignorance, economic deprivation and so- coming up in different directions, using cial injustice do not feature as the primary different mediums is ever-growing. While The economic and human costs of over- January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 32
  • 31. Worldscope reaction are immense. The yearly budget Promoting fear of terrorism often creates base of this solidarity between people and of the US Office of Homeland Security is an over-reaction which is counter-pro- governments should not hinge upon who approximately $US 50 billion. Widespread ductive, consolidating further opposition we are against, rather it should focus on fear has led to an overspending on defenses against the United States and its allies, who we are and the values we share. We and security, at the expense of greater soci- while aiding terrorist recruitment and the must recognise our collective responsibil- etal needs. The United States now spends likelihood of further attacks. Fear often ity in the effort to uproot terrorism. US$4 billion a year on airline passenger finds its most fertile nestling ground in screenings alone. conditions of ignorance. The more the Terrorists succeed when they cause nations public is made aware of the phenomenolo- to become fearful and vengeful; when they In a study published in April 7, 2006, Nobel gy of terrorism, the more resilient it stands seed division and animosity; when they Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, together with against panic. Governments can play a role force nations to react with violence and a Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes estimated in providing a better context to a more nu- antagonism. The best response is to refuse the ultimate cost of the war on terror to anced understanding of world events. to be cowed. be between US$1 and US$2 trillion. “The The call for a “war on terror” should be an full costs of the war are still largely hidden attempt to build solidarity in the battle below the surface” they warned. against a common shared enemy. But the 33 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 32. Higher Learning A milestone for the first HPair 2010 Asia Conference Sohail Sardana reveals how SMU will embrace future leaders worldwide T he Harvard Project for Asian and this, four ambassadors attended? the possess a vibrant university life. International Relations (HPAIR) is HPAIR Academic Conference 2009 in a non-profit organisation under the Seoul, South Korea. Apart from it being The conference is being organised in Harvard University Faculty of Arts and a unique learning experience, they were the 10th year of SMU’s existence and Science. The organisation is a realisation also provided with insights on organising its theme mirrors the challenges and of Harvard University’s commitment to a successful conference on a large scale. aspirations faced by the University in fostering communication among nations the coming decade. In its first decade, about economic, social, and political Following discussions with the Office of SMU has grown exponentially and concerns that have lasting implications Student Life, an official bid was prepared. established itself as one of Asia’s leading for global peace and prosperity. In October 2009, SMU’s bid to host the Business Schools. A conference of such HPAIR Academic Conference 2010 bore a magnitude gives SMU the opportunity Come August 2010, SMU will be fruit and the work began. to announce to the world that “SMU has organising the HPAIR Asia Conference, arrived”. a five-day academic programme with HPAIR returns to Singapore after four six panel workshops moderated by years. In 2006, the conference was However, the Ambassadorial Corps Harvard graduate students. Previously, organised as a joint effort among the and SMU itself face several challenges HPAIR organised annual academic and three local universities. However, SMU over the coming months. ASMU, while business conferences separately. The new is organising the 2010 conference organising a conference of such a format of the Asia Conference reflects independently and this provides our scale, has to balance their efforts with the integration of both formats, in what University with an excellent opportunity everyday commitments. Working with promises to be an exciting event for SMU. to celebrate the SMU lifestyle with an an organising committee thousands international audience. of miles away presents a logistical and The goal of the HPAIR Asia Conference communicational challenge which is to stimulate open dialogue and foster ASMU hopes to showcase SMU’s ASMU has been looking to overcome. greater cooperation among the world’s academic rigor with a practical twist. Therefore, the success of the conference future leaders. In attendance will be Through this conference, SMU looks to depends upon the support of the SMU students from top universities from establish that beyond the seminar style student body and community. around the world who will come together teaching and world-class research, we also in Singapore to listen to and interact with leaders from the fields of business, politics and academia. The theme for the first HPAIR Asia Conference is ‘Sustaining Momentum: Ten Years into the Asian Century’. The conference will be centered on Asia’s meteoric rise and questions on whether the 21st century is ‘Asia’s century’. SMU got involved in HPAIR through the SMU Ambassadorial Corps (ASMU). The ASMU team was looking to organise events in line with the university’s mission and identity. Through a former ambassador who attended HPAIR, ASMU identified the conference as an avenue to reach out and promote SMU to an international student audience. Following January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 34
  • 33. Higher Learning An encounter with the Men In White team Anthony Angela unveils challenges behind the writing process T he Wee Kim Wee Lunchtalk elections, both Mr Yap and Mr Leong be exciting times filled with near death could not be more crowded. Late faced enormous challenges in reaching situations, the 1980s and 1990s were not comers rushed in and looked key political players that were in their as eventful. around for a proper seat while the early 70s, 80s and 90s. birds sat in excitement, eagerly awaiting The task of author Richard Lim thus the beginning of the talk. Students, As such, some were reached too late while became rather difficult especially with professors, school administrators and others were too sickly to be interviewed. limited accessible information. the public squeezed into SR 1.2 at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business to hear Another challenge was establishing Fortunately, Richard retrieved two the authors of the much anticipated book, trust with the interviewees, many of classified documents from the PAP, one of “Men in White”, speak. whom were former leftists of the Barisan which was the post-mortem of the 1984 Socialists. “They would ask,” Mr Yap elections where the PAP lost two seats to The “Men in White” project began in 2002 recalls, “why should we cooperate with the opposition, ending their one party when then Prime Minister Goh Chok you to do a book that will demonise us rule. Tong thought of creating a book that and glorify the PAP?” As such, a lot of would coincide with the 50th anniversary time was spent on building trust through Details of the document indicated the of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in 2004. friends and building rapport with public’s dissent with policies like the interviewees. graduate mother’s program, the change At that time, the then Editor-in-Chief of in the withdrawal age of a person’s CPF The Straits Times had three individuals, Such trust would prove difficult to build savings among other issues. Sonny Yap, Richard Lim and Leong Weng especially with individuals that joined Kam take on the project of creating a the communists and lived through the In essence, the book covers the turbulent book of all the political players involved Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960. times of the 1950s and 1960s to the in the party’s past. This book, initially spontaneous changes in politics in due for publication in 2004, was released Mr Leong faced a particular problem the 1980s and 1990s and also provides in September 2009. when trying to contact the exiled a special part on the governance of members of the Malayan Communist Singapore by the PAP. Speaking at the talk, Mr Sonny Yap Party (MCP). highlighted that the book was a non- It tries to capture all the political players partisan and non commemorative book Fortunately, with reliable contacts, Mr of the different times and their thoughts and certainly, was not meant to be a PAP Leong was led to two peace villages in on the different events by interviewing propaganda book. Thailand where some of the remaining them. MCP are living. The peace villages are “None of the PAP people were ever part of a peace accord between the MCP, In doing so, the book becomes not only involved in the writing or the editing Thai and Malaysian officials allowing for a book of history but a testimony of the of the book,” Mr Yap explained. In fact, the settlement of some of the remaining past, present and hopefully, for the future. when questions on the criticism on the communist members. internet surfaced during the question and answer session, Mr Leong cleared the air Mr Leong recalled that there were about by stating that key leftist members like some 30 Singaporeans living at these Mr Peter Low Por Tuck felt that the book peace villages. Though no regret seemed had been fair and unbiased in its content prevalent, they longed to return home of past events after it was published. to Singapore. However, with national laws as they stand, they would have to But that was not the only challenge the renounce their communist beliefs. team faced. With the book’s timeline spanning from the 1950s to the 2006 While the 1950s and 1960s proved to 35 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 34. Campus Arts SMU Arts Festival 2010: A reflection Denise Seetekbeng, Elle Lim, Kimberly Yap and Teena Ngo look back on their favourite art festival performances S MU Arts Festival was a huge event this year spanning a whole month with performances, workshops, films and much more. The month -long celebrations had fulfilled the meaning of its theme “CONTENT: CONTENT.” Festival director, Jimmy Ye, hopes that all those involved in CONTENT: CONTENT as well as the audience to learn by heart that being bold and breaking out of the norms in arts as well as in life itself is the only way we can experience contentment. Our reporters spotted their favourite performances and couldn’t resist penning their thoughts down. Just So Just So, which marked the beginning of the SMU Arts Festival, shares a tale of animals’ coming to be. The per- formance was wrapped around grand produc- tion sets and showcased SMU’s finest talents, while the audience held their breath, laughed, and cried with the ensemble throughout the night. Needless to say, the per- formance was a whop- ping success. Renowned director Sebastian Tan attributed his success to the perfect pick and mix of SMU students GAYA 2010: The Tale of Sitti Nurbaya that completed the cast. GAYA 2010 was an exciting and Indeed, one cannot help challenging experience for the SMU but agree. The actors Komunitas Indonesia (SMUKI). fit the different roles “I did this out of love for SMUKI,” said perfectly, quite so that producer Helen Wijaya. She loved it appeared almost ef- and enjoyed what she was doing, even fortless in their part. when not paid. With this to kick off When asked about what she learned the SMU Arts Festival, from the characters, her answer was: let us all offer a toast “Be content with life. Happiness is a and celebrate for SMU’s choice.” coming of age, as we continue to share in its All the earnings from the play were history and play our donated to the Padang earthquake own parts in making it victims, as relayed by scriptwriter Just So. Putra Muskita. January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 36
  • 35.  Revolving around the many themes drawn from various pronunciations of the Chinese word “shi” (or “ten”, in line with SMU’s 10th anniversary), most masterpieces garnered a gener- ous, well-deserved ovation. Still, some dance numbers ended with raised eyebrows and an almost re- luctant round of applause from a few members of the audience who were still unsure of how they felt about the performance. But as one of the dancers remarked, “That’s what’s so great about what we do: it is usually abstract, with no specific meaning. This gives (the audience) more space to think!”    Bailamos And with that belief, coupled with sheer deter- Bailamos brought forth the sensational art of mination, and armed with a love of dance, the social dance. Caderas Latinas, alongside dance dancers managed to persevere and to deliver troupes from NUS, NTU, Republic Polytechnic yet another successful and insightful produc- and SIM showcased a wide range of social dances tion. Hats off to Beyond 2010! — from Salsa, to Latin dance, to the Boogie. The dancers astonished the audience as they went all-out with their dance moves, colorful costumes and daring stunts. The event drew to a close with the audience dancing the night away; some even getting first-hand dance lessons from the dance instructors themselves. After experiencing a thrilling, exciting night like this, Bailamos will surely be a spectacle none would forget anytime soon! InDanCity: Beyond 2010 Intersect10n: Where will the beat take you? Taking audiences Beyond ordinary dance moves and Intersect10n was definitely a night to remember! With choreography, InDanCity’s second annual production, songs ranging from classical to rock music, the audi- Beyond 2010, was a huge spectacle accentuated by ence was constantly surprised by the many hip-hop the creative talent of both the choreographers and the dance interpretations Eurythmix performed. dancers themselves. From giant sheets of cloth, Velcro- on stools and giant tubes to ordinary chairs, it seemed Creative director, Miguel Martinez, said that they used that there was nothing that the group could not turn the idea of dancing to different genres of music and into a dance prop! mixed it with hip-hop thus producing the “Inter- sect10n” (or meeting point).
  • 36. Digital Picking the right smartphone for you Technology blogger Daniel Tsou helps us to find the perfect match T he number one question I get asked deciding on a specific model, since this a piece of advice. Some mobile phone on a weekly basis is “Which smart decision will affect your experience with shops, especially your “friendly” neigh- phone is better? X or Y?” My answer the device. Remember to rank your prefer- borhood shop, swap out the original has always been “it depends on you”. ences based on your priority. That would charger for a 3rd party charger. This has make your deciding process easier. happened to my friends too many times While that might sound like an excuse Picking a model that I need to point this out here to make saving me some time from answering Now that the hard part is over, it’s time sure that you won’t get cheated. To do that question, the truth is there is no such to pick a model from the platform you this, check the battery for the phone’s thing as the “best smart phone”. There is, have chosen based on specific features logo to ensure that proper endorsement however, the “best smart phone for you”. (camera quality, screen size etc), budget of the battery has been made. While you and design. are at it, why not check all the contents in Your mobile phone could potentially be the box, referring to the user manual to the most important gadget in your life Since the most important decision has see the contents of your box. simply because it is always with you. already been made, it doesn’t matter with Does it not make sense, then, that if you The journey has just begun were to pick a smart phone, you would Your smartphone is going to be your be better off picking one that you are not partner for quite a while, at least until you going to hate using? buy your next mobile phone. Hopefully with this guide, you can find yourself a Unless, of course, you are the sort who smartphone that can empower your life, doesn’t care about how well the device rather than stand in its way. works, as long as it looks cool. Then this guide is totally inapplicable to you. Understanding Yourself The first step to picking the right smart phone is to know what you need/want and what you plan to use it to do. Do you plan to surf the web on this device often? the order in which you decide. However, Do you plan to use it as your media player here are some pointers to help you not or your personal organiser? What is your regret your purchase later: priority? Once you know what you are looking for, it will make it easier for you Test the keyboard to pick a device. Always ALWAYS test the keyboard/key- pad. It is going to be the most commonly Understanding Your Options used feature after all. For onscreen key- In this ever changing gadget world, even boards, watch for how well the keyboard the definition of “Smartphone” is always corrects your mistakes. The iPhone’s evolving. By today’s standard, however, keyboard, for example, is smart enough to a smart phone is a mobile phone that correct your typing based on where you is capable of allowing you to install 3rd press, and not just based on typo errors. party applications to extend the func- Also take note on how easy it is to type tionality of the device, and not simply a punctuations and numbers. Some key- phone with many features. Therefore, the boards require several steps to get to those next step is to decide which platform you keys. would like to use. In my opinion, deciding on the platform is more important than Check the charger and other accessories This is more of a safety precaution than January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 38
  • 37. Here are some of my observations on the different platforms. Be sure to check the phones out before making a decision. Windows S60/Symbian iPhone Android Blackberry Mobile 6.5 (Nokia) Web browsing 1 2 31 5 4 Music and video Best Applications store 140,000+ 20,000+ Not very big2 Not very big2 Not very big2 Home screen - Widgets Widgets/”Today” “Today” screen Shortcuts screen3 On-screen key- 1 24 34 4 - board Software can be - Yes Yes Yes Yes tweaked Multi-tasking - Yes Yes Yes Yes Responsiveness 1 3 5 4 2 Other notes The best mobile Great Gmail and Experience varies Great physical Great physical games usually end Google Calendar between manufac- keyboard keyboard up here first. support turers Huge number of Requires extra 3 of your 5 relatives shortcuts mean you Blackberry plans own one (almost) can carry out tasks for BBM and email super fast Notes: * The touch-screen models for this platform are not considered as they are far from maturity at this point. 1 Varies with manufacturer. The built-in Internet Explorer is horrible, but Opera Mobile, provided with Samsung and HTC phones for example, is very good. 2 Although these platforms recently introduced their own app stores, you can find applications on the web without it, which make it hard to properly number. 3 Varies with manufacturer. Example: HTC provides the highly customisable and usable HTC Sense home screen, while Samsung provides the TouchWiz widgets home screen. 4 Varies with manufacturer. Android’s default keyboard is not too bad, while Windows Mobile’s is horrible. HTC, however, pro- vides a brilliant custom keyboard for both platforms. 5 This means you can install 3rd party applications that can change the way your phone functions. 6 Multi-tasking has a downside: the more apps you run, the slower your phone gets.
  • 38. Spotlight From showbiz to business By Sheena Lee Villanueva P erceived as a hostile guy with a tough exterior, Jackson Tan has proven to be the opposite. Not only is he friendly, Jackson is also a very humble and gregarious guy, totally dif- ferent from a lot of preconceived notions made about him. A final-year student from the School of Economics, Jackson is pretty much like any other student in SMU. He can be easily spotted at the SMU gym helping out as gym staff. His hobbies and interests include tri- athlons and water sports such as diving, kayaking and sailing. Nevertheless, he does not limit himself to what he knows and continues to explore new sports like rock climbing. Just like how the rest of us dream to make it big someday, Jackson dreams of owning his own resort after he graduates. He may look like a typical SMU student, but in reality, he’s more than that. One of the finalists in the MediaCorp Star Search competition, as well as the holder of the Mr Personality award, Jackson has reached a dream that thousands wish for — getting into the entertainment industry. His interest started when he was young. Star Search was, at that time, the most prestigious and the only talent search in Singapore. Wanting the glam of it all, he thought acting was something that he would be really into. The idea faded as time passed by, until his mom encouraged him to enter the competition. With the full support of his family, Jackson joined Star Search and not long after, became a real star. “I can’t dance for nuts,” Jackson shares. So what did he do to catch the judges’ attention during the audition? “I didn’t wear a very striking shirt. It was January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 40
  • 39. really mellow. I was wearing beige. And on in his life. “We can do a lot of things my hair was terrible then because I just at the same time. By putting our hearts came back from Bali and it was not very into them, staying positive and finding well kept.” However, these did not affect the passions for each and everything the judges’ opinion about him. Jackson we would have the basic drive in doing was asked to do an acting scene and everything well.” showcase a special skill. He mentioned that he didn’t really know what he “The learning doesn’t stop when you wanted to do during the special talents make it into the industry. You need to section. He ended up pretending to be constantly upgrade yourself and expose the emcee of the show — not singing or yourself to as many opportunities as you dancing, which are the most commonly can to practice your skill and to learn done. What probably made him stand out from others”, Jackson remarked. was his willingness to take risks. Taking his own advice, he is currently During the Star Search run, Jackson taking up a course by Professor Margaret brought home a lot of new lessons. Chan called Post Modern Theatre Studies, which he says offers him a lot of new “Star Search actually allowed me to perspectives. learn about focus.” Jackson shared that contestants had very little time to So what’s next for Jackson Tan? prepare for performances. They were given around two weeks to learn dancing, Jackson mentioned that he has two singing, martial arts and acting. His concurrent plans. First plan: To kick start stamina was built up due to their day and what he has learnt from his four-year night trainings and tight schedule. stay in SMU, he tendered for Screme. If he wins the bid, Jackson will make this his This really helped him as he went into full-time business. Second plan: Jackson the acting business, which had a lot of applied to become a cadet pilot. This way, irregular hours and long periods of work. Jackson said, he can fly around the world and scout for new locations, build up his “This actually drains a person out, but capital and find business partners. you always have to look refreshed on screen so we learnt certain techniques to Jackson is just another SMU student, but combat that. One of them is to focus, and he took a risk and followed his dream and the other is to really channel the energy that, made him the star that he is. when the time calls for it.” Jackson is a self-managed artist, part of the gym staff and a full-time student. How does he balance all these aspects of his life? Staying positive. Jackson said that being optimistic is something that he is still learning but is definitely what helps him cope with everything that’s going 41 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 40. Travel Korea through a native’s eyes Chiang Chia Wen provides a glimpse into the Korean cultural experience M ost people know South Korea their leisure time, and visit historical sites party is and then figure out how to ad- as a country with kimchi- spicy to experience the past. dress that person. As a rule of thumb, you cabbage, hanbok- colorful should always bow and say “Ahn-nyeong- traditional dresses, entertaining drama Showing Respect ha-se-yo” to any one in Korea, except to shows like Boys over Flower, and a group Why do then bow to one another? In Ko- those whom you know are definitely of female singers called Wonder Girls rean society, there is high power distance younger than you, like little kids. singing “Nobody”. However, Korea is not among the Korean people because there just about what you see in Korean dramas is a culture of seniority. Bowing and say- Bonding over a Meal and K-pop. Korea is a dynamic country ing hello, “Ahn-nyeong-ha-se-yo”, is the Having meals together is one of the with a fusion of rich traditions as well as a norm when it comes to greeting people favorite ways that Koreans bond with vibrant modern culture. in Korea. This is a way to show respect to friends and other people. Koreans value one another, especially when one is greet- the relationships that they have with In order to get a real taste of the Korean ing a person whom one has met for the their friends and they want to maintain culture, you will need to understand the first time or someone who is older. Even it by asking one another out for a meal or values of the Korean people, go and try though the person may be younger, it is drinks. A typical outing is to have dinner the food that the locals eat, hang out in still necessary to show respect first and with a group of friends at a barbeque the places that Korean like to go to spend subsequently establish how old the other restaurant and have grilled pork belly, a January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 42
  • 41. Travel must-try dish, with a bottle of soju — a Korean distilled spirit that is very popular because it is very affordable and has high alcohol content (20%). Another all-time favorite food for Koreans is their street snacks. You can easily find a street vendor with a push-cart selling freshly made snacks such as spicy rice cakes (ddeok-bok-ki), fish cakes (o-deng), and deep-fried vegetables (twi-ggim). Ddeok-bok-ki is usually very spicy, so be prepared to train your taste buds to eat spicy food in Korea. If you are adventur- ous, you can try soon-dae, sausage made of pork intestines with glass noodles and pork blood. Koreans’ favorite past-time Koreans, similar to any other nation- alities, like to go shopping during their leisure time. The main shopping places in Seoul that cannot be missed are Dongda- emoon market, Myeongdong, and Edae (short form of Ewha Women’s University). These places all sell clothes that are from the latest fashion trends at affordable prices. A unique favorite past-time of Koreans is to go to a jjim-jil-bang, a 24-hour Korean sauna, with their friends or family. This is a place where you can have a sauna, hang out in the common area to watch TV, eat snacks and desserts, drink refreshing cold drinks, and sleep overnight. You may experience a culture shock when you go to Korea because the bathing area is open with no curtains. But, of course, the male and female bathing areas are separated. Understanding the Korea’s history Experiencing Korea’s history and tradi- tions can be done easily by visiting vari- ous palaces, folk villages, museums, and the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). There are Village. Insadong is a traditional cultural things that Koreans do and you will get various palaces and museums in the heart street with many tea houses and shops a better understanding of Korea and the of Seoul. The two most famous palaces selling antiques, ceramics, rice cakes, and Korean people. in Seoul are Changdeokgung Palace souvenirs. and Gyeongbokgung Palace. The War Memorial of Korea is also a museum that Visiting a different country and truly should not be missed if you are interested experiencing its culture and understand- in learning about the history of Korea. To ing the people can be difficult to do in a get a glance at a traditional folk village short period of time. Don’t worry if you in Seoul, visit the Namsangol Hanok can’t experience everything, but do try the 43 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 42. Travel Vita in Italia Lim Si Hui discovers a new dimension of romantic Italy R enowned to be the home of Romeo even have Prada spectacles! Siestas and Laidback Italians and Juliet and origin of the Roman As part of administration procedures Empire, Italy is now a democratic However, the city of Milan, when com- mandated by the university, we had republic with a rich cultural heritage. pared to the beauty of its exquisite Italian to obtain some documents from the brands, pales in comparison. I was taken post office. To our dismay, although we With a total population of 60 million aback when I arrived at central Milan — arrived at 5.30pm in the afternoon, the residents, Italy has the world’s 23rd larg- Graffiti enveloped dilapidated walls, litter office’s staff rejected us as they were est population. Undeniably, Singapore’s was strewn everywhere and lifts were ‘preparing’ to close at 6pm. In addition, population of approximately 4.5 million old-fashioned and queer. I even thought unlike diligent Singaporeans, Italians are is hardly comparable. Moreover, accord- that Orchard Road, though not being predisposed to work less. For instance, the ing to the World Tourism Organisation, renowned as a fashion street, was exceed- official opening hours of my university’s Italy is the 3rd and 5th most visited coun- ingly better than the fashion streets of International Student Desk, which is akin try in Europe and in the world. Milan. After getting to know some Italian to SMU’s Office of International Rela- friends, some even conceded that Milan tions, is only open for about three hours Having embarked on a four-month Eras- is in a dire state. Hence, one should not on certain days of the week! Moreover, mus Programme in Milan, Italy, insights come with high hopes that Milan would it is an integral part of Italian culture for have eradicated pre-conceived notions maintain magnificent architecture and shops to take siestas, a break during the — both favourable and unfavourable pristine clean streets to complement its early afternoon. ones — about Italy, a country endowed glamorous identity as the fashion capital with beautiful Renaissance and Baroque of the world. After understanding more about Italian architecture. culture, I realised that one of the rea- Milan — Resplendent Fashion Capital of the World? After informing friends and family about my embarkation to Milan for several months, the general response was one with envy and yearning expressions. Milan is indubitably famous for having a major global influence in fashion, be- ing the headquarter of Italy’s illustrious brands such as Gucci, Prada and Versace. Prestigious shopping boulevards are sprawled all over central Milan’s fashion district Quadrilatero Della Moda. As one strolls down main streets in central Mi- lan, such as Via Dante, one will definitely spot at least one Italian donning luxuri- ous fashion apparel or accessories — perhaps a lanky, brunette Italian in Gucci shades or a tanned, dark-eyed Italian man enrobed in a Prada leather trench coat. I clearly remember the bewildering experi- ence during my first day of lectures at my university — I noticed students carrying Louis Vuitton bags everywhere, and some January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 44
  • 43. Travel sons why Italians have such a laidback In spite of the laidback norm of Italian churches have an actual ornamental attitude is due to the Italian culture of culture, one will be amazed by the myriad dome built at the top of a church. How- enjoying life. In Italy, various bars hold of architectural styles, ranging from ever, this church is quite an exception appertivos, events with an all-you-can-eat Gothic to Neo-Classical, that have been — its ‘dome’ is an optical illusion painted buffet-with-drinks concept. In addition, well-preserved in Italy. The Colosseum, on a flat ceiling. When I saw it, I was many clubs, particularly those in Milan, an elliptical amphitheatre that used to astounded by its realistic depiction that organise events for high-end individuals host gladiator games in Rome, has a grand looked so much like a real dome! or university students to mingle. appearance, which looks additionally majestic when lit up at dusk. From Piazza Have you heard of underground Italy? However, after living in Italy for some Michelangelo, one of the most popular If not, explore Church of San Clemente period of time, one may begin to pine attractions in Florence, one can see a in Rome. This church is more than just for greater efficiency, as it becomes a tad breathtaking view of Florence’s land- a church — beneath its ground, there is vexatious waiting in a long queue due to scape. a hidden labyrinth of narrow walkways slow-moving staff serving at the MacDon- and drains and several burial sites. It was ald’s counter, or having to compromise The attractions mentioned above are all definitely a fascinating visit, discovering pre-arranged appointments to accommo- prominent sights known to many visitors. phenomenal artworks and insights about date a telephone shop’s siesta when one However, Italy is home to many obscure the ancient way of life. has to urgently buy a new mobile. yet mysterious and exceptional sights. If in Rome, one should make a trip down All in all, I definitely had the most unique Intriguing Mysteries of Italy to St. Iganzio di Loyola Church. Most experience in Italy — having immersed in a rich yet romantic Italian culture, conversed with brown-eyed, generally amicable and impassioned Italians, and tasted thin-crust pizzas smothered with mozzarella cheese, the Italian experience is definitely one that has left an indelible impression in my mind. 45 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 44. Travel Unrestrained Freedom Michael Ng introduces us to the culture of student power in Hong Kong U nion — the word that makes the other things Hong Kong also well known “wasting” in students’ minds. The next world of difference. Free from for. But this is not without scrutiny. week, it showed a formal letter from the corporate influence, the City branch head in question resigning. Next University of Hong Kong Student Union Counterchecks to it was another note lobbying for a tries its best to navigate through the laby- The Democracy Board is the front line of review of offerings by the student union’s rinth that their precedents built for them: all campus politics. Courageous students mini café. Money is serious business here. constitution. stick up multiple sheets of A4 to form banners, and posters for their message. Another post on the Democracy Board According to City University Student School administration staff scramble to showed the increasing decline of student Union’s official website: “The union post their official responses beside contro- union membership over the years. Stu- carries forward the spirit of freedom, versial issues. The City University Student dents can opt out to save on the student democracy, independence, self-govern- Union, being responsible for the board, union fees they pay each term. If they feel ment, unity and mutual aid, widens the controls the quality of boards and address that the union and their subsidiaries are academic, cultural and intellectual scope critical issues if they arise. not providing value, they can simply opt of members, participates in the process of out. This then creates a situation where formulation of the University’s policies I managed to catch sight of a post on the students union is very much at the and assists in their implementation.” the Democracy Board crying foul at mercy of the remaining students who did how a branch of the union was poorly not opt out, thereby enhancing the power “Freedom” includes many things: protests, managed and wasting money. Apparently, of students to hold the students union participation in regional politics, and not optimising operations qualifies as accountable for funds spent. Financing for student clubs and activities The need of satisfying “customers” feels very real. Judging how high membership fees for clubs are, it seems that the huge majority of club funds come from members themselves. This sensitivity to money has also brought on many interesting developments. Firstly, membership fees mean the people who signed up have actual interest in what clubs they join. “Resume? Only presidential positions in the student union go into record, a local said. He then scoffed at the near zero possibility that local employers would consider CCA records in resumes. “They only join these clubs because of their passion for them.” Combine hardship and passion and you’ll get something special. Each club’s billboard portrayed a unique identity — a different communal feeling. The people behind these displays have passion in their clubs and you can tell that the task was not just delegated to random marketing director. January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 46
  • 45. Travel A unique culture shouting season remains one of the top each member will take, which also seem to Speaking about having heart, I personally rated across all Hong Kong universities. reduce friction when fighting for top seats. witnessed a martial arts group that stood in formation outside the campus, wearing Then what are the martial arts clubs and That, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t only their ghi in the chilling 10 degrees the other interest groups doing? Surely, any inter-team friction. Towards the end Celsius winter winds, unmoved. they don’t need to run for elections. “Oh, of the voting period, the two teams run- they simply hopped on to gain publicity, ning for student union threw up posters Indoors, a giant medicinal oil box was to show people that they are around,” my on the democracy board slandering the walking along the common area, followed local friend explained. other. by a mini marching contingent trying their best to emulate marching, clopping Due to the recent change in regulations, When they are not fighting each other, their feet, and waving signboards. students are only allowed to shout dur- students rile up against the establish- ing the breaks, to avoid interfering with ment. During my stay, there was a huge The annual “Shouting event” as the locals lessons. So during lessons, they just “walk uproar on the huge amount that the Hong coined it, simply refers to the elections for heavily” and mime. Kong government is spending on build- student bodies: ones that represent each ing a high speed rail to the mainland. school, and of course the student union The freedom that students lobby for cre- Posters rallied for a protest on the first day executive committee. ated a unique culture for themselves. It’s of 2010. not banned until someone says so. Students have to form their own teams Another poster boldly claimed only one and form parties to run for office. During Office politics line (directly translated): “For a country the elections period, these teams would The elections system requiring pre- that does not represent its people, what is form up in allocated areas on campus dur- formed parties seems to help in improv- there to celebrate?” A reply was: “It may ing break times, shouting out their slogans ing the team spirit in whoever wins not represent all of its people, but it does and chants. Famous Hong Kong pop songs the office, now that they went though for the majority of the people” A further are occasionally added for flavor. My local something tough together at least once. scribbled reply underlined “majority” and friend proudly claimed that CityU’s annual Teams also need to pre-register the posts wrote “do they?” 47 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 46. Travel The Shangri-La I documented: Project Argali 2 Talisa Kaur Dhaliwal explores from the edge of paradise for organising Overseas Community trouble reflected on their faces. It was not Involvement Programme (OCIP) trips just the paper-making unit which baffled to countries like Cambodia, The Philip- us. When chatting with the average Sik- pines and among others, the very popular kimese villager, it was difficult to ignore Nepal. Sikkim, in spite of being equally how their happiness and contentment if not more richly dipped in the golden shone through despite their laborious life. and serene Buddhist culture with its popularised prayer flags, spinning wheel To any outsider, this would have seemed and hundreds of ancient monasteries, has like a perfect life in a beautiful land. A often fallen short of generating as much Shangri-La. attention. And one wonders why? Is it ig- norance, on the part of people, that there Sikkim itself is beauty at its element. isn’t another exotic and faraway country Inevitably, one would be touched by on OSL’s list besides Nepal? the spirituality of this misty Himalayan realm. This is a place where nature ulti- Well, it takes one to embark on Project mately dwarfs all human concerns. Sik- Argali 2 -which was organised to Sikkim- kim is practically a ‘virgin’ in comparison to dispel such a notion. And what better to Nepal, as it is not as heavily frequented way to change the perceptions of people by tourists thus, retaining its continual than to document it and show the rest, carpet of undisturbed forest mass and ka- not only the work which Project Argali 2 leidoscope of temperate flora and fauna. did, but also the rich and vibrant culture which we were immersed in and the While we wake up to skyscrapers in wonderful people who shaped our experi- Singapore, the Sikkimese villagers are M y father would open huge, ences. greeted every morning by the snow- ‘ancient’ and dusty looking clad summit of the Kangchenjunga-also atlases, maps and almanacs just The aim of Project Argali 2 was to im- the highest peak in India and the third to share with me the joy which he felt prove the existing technique of the paper- highest in the world .Geographically, this when he spent hours scanning the globe making unit in Borong-Polok, which range falls on the border between Sikkim for those unheard of and strange sound- was often time-consuming and energy- and Nepal. ing ‘stans’ of central Asia, and many other draining. Run by a man in his thirties, and exotic and Indiana Jones kind of places a group of strong-willed Sikkimese house- It was also my Shangri-La, because of which most people don’t usually read wives, the paper-making unit should the immense fun and enjoyment we had about. not be underestimated for its run-down while socialising with the Sikkimese. façade and small workforce. Who would Despite fumbling in broken Nepali and That’s how I first came to know of this have imagined that a small and ‘unheard’ Hindi, it was not long before the team small autonomous Buddhist state border- of paper-making unit would have trade felt right at home with the Sikkimese ing Nepal, tucked away amidst the great links with not only major Indian city- villagers. folds of the formidable Himalayas-Sik- states, but also places as far as Australia? kim. So years later, when his little girl was During house visits, the villagers would certain enough that she could explore the The documentary team was amazed that prepare an array of scrumptious Sikkimese world on her own, I grabbed the oppor- despite enduring month-long pay cuts, dishes for us to palate, before pulling us tunity and traveled to the sleepy village the women workers continued working. up to imitate their folk dances. Once they of Borong-Polok in Southern Sikkim to While such a scenario would have invited were certain that we were ‘experts’ in their fulfill what I had fantasised. riots and filled the atmosphere with nega- folk dance, they would make us stay on tive sentiments, these women, were con- for long just dancing in a circle with them. The Office of Student Life is well-known stantly cherry, and not once could we see This was very much the kind of circle January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 48
  • 47. dance that we all probably watched in Disney films and cartoons. The difference is only that we had the chance to live the fantasy. Before, ending this almost fantasy like account of my OCIP experience, it is pertinent that I highlight an issue, which I have been confronted with regarding the real purpose of OCIPs. Some may read this article and cynically conclude that OCIP’s are primarily about having fun, or discov- ering Shangri-Las, rather than engaging in real learning. But my response is simply this-Why can’t there be an element of fun when we people learn? Hasn’t SMU taught us that it is through interacting with others that learning occurs best? And one is bound to have fun when inter- acting with another. In Sikkim, the villagers saw that we were having fun singing and dancing and so, found it much easier to open up to us and teach and share with us more about their way of life. It is because of this fun element that we were able to develop deeper ties with the Sikkimese housewife, Sikkimese farmer, and Sikkimese child; in essence, the Sikkimese layman. We there- fore, had the chance to learn from people of all walks of life. So why grudge us if all those photos splashed on facebook showed us having more fun than anything else? How is learning supposed to be depicted in pho- tographs if learning is a personal thing and internalised? This is probably how OCIPs would explain it to the skeptics too. But, because I can vouch only for the team on Project Argali 2, I can confidently say that we did contribute to and learnt in this land of Shangri-La. 49 THE BLUE AND GOLD January 2010
  • 48. Travel Entering the USA: Easier than I thought Owen Tan gives his take on the security measures at US airports A merica is, as the stereotype goes, my sweater and my jacket before stepping very little to complain about the strict- a land of freedom, a place where past. ness of their policy with regard to comfort its citizens are able to enjoy “life, and convenience. liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The The drama wasn’t over yet - prior to enter- attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines ing the plane in Narita, another security Entering the USA was, it seems, easier 253 en route to Detroit on Christmas counter inspected our entire hand-carry than I thought. Did the system really Day of last year, however, meant that luggage by hand and every passenger was “work”, as Janet Napolitano, Secretary of part of the Declaration of Independence subjected to a full, unflattering body pat Homeland Security, infamously claimed? would have to be compromised a wee bit down. Even with the “upgrade” in security, this more. Airline security has stepped up to passenger did not feel the effects. near-draconian levels, and security checks The most surprising thing was before have become far more troublesome. landing, when all passengers were asked to ensure that we did not cover our knees Or so we thought. with blankets. This journalist is currently in Atlanta on America a study exchange, and prior to the trip, While the facilities at the Tom Bradley expected the security checks to be as International Airport in Los Angeles were difficult as they come and that Changi rather primitive, the security counters International Airport will be indeed boast the latest tools that make trips inconvenient. Check-in rows for economy much more of a hassle - X-rays, impolite class flights only allowed the passengers security guards, and metal detectors. to enter – not even family could help with While I managed to escape taking off my luggage. winter boots in Singapore and Tokyo, I was asked to remove them here in LA. Surprisingly, the scanning of bags at Changi went about quickly and smoothly I was definitely not looking forward - laptops had to be taken out of the hand- to having any more security measures, carry luggage, but apart from this little though I did expect that we would once inconvenience, everything went about as again be searched when we boarded the normal. domestic flight, via Delta Air to Atlanta. Interestingly, there were no more checks On board the plane, there wasn’t any before I arrived in the busiest airport in precaution that we had to take which was America. not usually included in the safety regula- tions. It was only landing in Tokyo-Narita Not that strict International Airport - my first stop - Apart from a couple of additional proce- when I got a taste of some real security dures we had to get used to - especially action. the part where we had to take off our shoes before passing through the metal Expecting transit passengers to be let detector - the security procedures seemed off more easily with regard to security almost routine. procedures, I was surprised to see that we still had to go through a second hand- In truth, the checks should have been carry X-ray machine. The hassle was in more stringent considering that an act of passing through the metal detector — the terrorism had only recently been commit- Japanese officer asked me to remove both ted, but for the average passenger there is January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 50
  • 49. I’m a BROKER BANKE I’m a But I’m not controlled by the stock market I meet multi-millionaires at work. I know the latest shipping news at my fingertips. I play matchmaker to ships and see millions of dollars change hands in a single deal. I’m a Ship Broker. - Ryan Ng, Eastport Maritime The job of a ship broker is fast-paced and dynamic. A strong business acumen and matured mind are often required. The Singapore maritime industry is home to 5,000 maritime companies, with more than 100,000 people in the maritime workforce. Singapore is set to be one of the world’s leading international maritime centres. Join this dynamic and global sector and be part of the exciting buzz. Visit to find out more.
  • 50. Digital Digital Collaboration Made Easy Lee Jun Kit checks out applications that make life simpler January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 52