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the ridge

ridgeonline.wordpress.com
March 2009

MICA (P) 218/01/2008

Film Reel:
Mischief Managed
Page 24

Online piracy
The Road Ahead?
Page 40
01 contents

Loki 16 Transsexuals: The Absent Talent


18 She-Males and He-Shes?
20 Rebels with a Cause
24 A Toothy Grin is all it Takes

News 04 Tragedy Strikes in PGP


06 NTU Stabbing Incident
08 Random Blends
10 The Unsung Heroes of NUS
14 New Shaw Foundation Alumni House

Lifestyle 35 Food Review: da paolo

Outspoken 38 Shape-shifting Singapore

Transmedia 26 ArtsFest ‘09


30 Singapore Indie Documentary Festival

Wired 40 Online Piracy

Sports 42 NUS Open 2009

Regulars 22 Canvas
34 Borders Book Review
36 Snippets
44 NUSSU Conpost Report
design Samyuktha
02 editorial

With more than half the semester gone, the ridge is over with its penultimate
issue.

And since very soon exams will be looming overhead and everyone will be buried
under the pressure of final exams, submissions and deadlines we decided to have a
short fling with mischief.

The timing is right as well since it is never too early to start getting ready for April
Fool’s which is also right around the corner.

With Loki as the deity selected for this month, the themed section is full with
articles reflecting his many distinct qualities. Seeing that he was able to change
shape and sex, we explore Androgyny in music [18 – 19].

Loki’s habitual standing up to the Odin and the other gods is explored in a lifestyle
piece on Rebels with just causes [20 – 21].

His penchant for mischief is also explored in the FilmReel [24 - 25] where we
suggest movies which disregard normal convention and standard definitions of fun.

Among other noteworthy events that happened in March and are still going on
include the annual NUS Arts Fest ’09 and the Singapore Indie Film Festival. If you
missed them you can catch a recap with our reviews.

Finally, we end on a serious note. With the tragic incident at NTU and the passing
away of an NUS student at Prince George’s Park, the ridge news takes a look at how
events unfolded.

You can reach us with your thoughts at feedback at ridgechiefeditor@nus.edu.sg.

Hurrairah bin Sohail


Chief Editor
design Samyuktha
contributors 03

Chief Editor
Hurrairah bin Sohail
Creative Director
Claryce Lum
Executive Editor (Online)
Hannah Yan Head of Creative Team:
Design
Webmaster
Ho Yi Jian Samyuktha
Head of Creative Team:

News Photography
Jason Hau & Lynette Lim Adi Yoga

Outspoken Copyeditor
Kokila Annamalai Suhas Bhat

Lifestyle
Arzish Baaquie
Head of Marketing & PR
Transmedia Samyuktha
Hurrairah bin Sohail
Secretary
Wired Sowmya Gopi
Gurmesh Singh
Treasurer
Sports Dennis Phua
Suhas Bhat
04 news

Tragedy Strikes in PGP


Tragedy strikes again at another of Singapore’s higher education
institutions.
text Luigi Laurel | u0704757@nus.edu.sg

Tragedy strikes again at another of Singapore’s higher education institutions.

Not two days after the terrible incident involving a Nanyang Technological University student and
lecturer, an international exchange student in the National University of Singapore (NUS) has passed
away.

Scott Jared Monat, a 20-year old neurobiology sophomore from the University of Miami (UM), was in
his room in Prince George’s Park (PGP) Residence in the morning of Mar 4, 2009 when he experienced
breathing difficulties.

A friend who was with him then contacted the PGP resident advisor, Associate Professor Daniel Seng.

Together with the resident assistants and other residents of the cluster, they attempted to revive Scott, as
well as contact the Singapore Civil Defense Force for an ambulance.

“He and some others had been making noise in the kitchen, then around that time he fainted,” said third-
year engineering student Christopher Aldo, to the Campus Observer, another publication in NUS.

Scott was rushed to the National University Hospital (NUH) and was admitted at around 5:30 in that
morning. Regrettably, efforts made to resuscitate him were fruitless.

At 6:20 am, Scott Jared Monat


was pronounced dead. As of
the writing of this article NUH
has yet to release a statement
concerning the cause of
Scott’s death.

However, reports in local


media have stated that Scott
had been drinking alcohol in
his room prior to the incident.

There were also unconfirmed


reports that local police took
away a bottle of pills, believed
to be Valium that was found
in his room.
design Samyuktha

Scott’s family brought his


body home Mar 6, 2009.
news 05

UM student Jeffrey Gencarelli recalled Scott to be a


“Truly a humble person and always at the head of the
class.”

“I can’t say that I have never been jealous of your


achievements, you were always an all around good
guy and someone to be admired,” he reminisced.

NUS Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye sent an email


to the NUS population on Mar. 6 expressing that he
was “deeply saddened” by Scott’s passing and also
provided some facts related to the incident.

Scott, a National Merit Scholar, went to Pope High


School in Marietta, Georgia.

Having graduated at the top of his class, he then went


on to the University of Miami, where he received
the Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholarship, the most
Close friends of Scott have set up a memorial group prestigious scholarship granted by the university.
on the social networking website Facebook. (RIP
Scott Monat ~ http://www.facebook.com/group. At UM, he was a member of the Edward T. and
php?gid=55968617411). Roberta Foote Fellows, an exclusive group of select
College of Arts and Sciences freshmen.
So far, over 700 of Scott’s family and friends have
joined the group to pay their respects: A well-rounded student, Scott devoted time to the
UM Hillel, the university’s Jewish community. He also
“Scott was so happy here in Singapore… he was played and taught others how to play the piano.
shining brighter than the sun. One thing about Scott
was that he never forgot about his friends and always A memorial service for Scott was held in the UM
talked about everyone from home. Scott was having Hillel on Mar 4, 2009. Another memorial service will
the time of his life here and NUS and PGP will never be be held on Mar 7, 2009 in Marietta, Georgia It will be
the same without him,” shared Pattie Vongsoasup, a followed by internment.
fellow exchange student.
Scott leaves behind his parents, Richard and Ilene, as
“We will remember both a sweet little boy and a well as his older brother Zach.
brilliant young man,” recalled Ellen Jarret, a former
neighbor. It is clear from the resounding shock from people
across the globe that Scott Monat will be dearly
First-year psychology major, John Perez was Scott’s missed.
classmate from PL3236, Abnormal Psychology.

He said that he did not know Scott personally but Two Cent Saloon and A Thousand Words have been
added that “you could tell how eager he was to learn held over. Both columns will be back in the April issue.
and how unafraid he was to voice his thoughts.”
06 news

NTU Stabbing Incident Sheds Light On


Problems Faced By International Students
text Aminurashid Juma’at | u0500245@nus.edu.sg Eileen Poh | poh.eileen@nus.edu.sg

photo lusi from sxc.hu


The recent stabbing-cum-suicide case at the education system, may be overwhelmed by midterm
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) sheds light tests, project deadlines and examinations.
on some of the problems faced by foreign students,
and possibly the local students, in Singapore’s tertiary “The deadlines are too close for comfort,” said Jessie
educational institutions. Phan, a third year Communications and New Media
student from Vietnam. “The culture of competition
Earlier this month, fourth-year NTU engineering amongst students is also a far cry from what I was
student, David Hartanto Widjaja, allegedly slashed his used to back home.”
wrists and jumped to his death four floors down after
allegedly stabbing supervisor for his Final-Year Project Many are also burdened by scholarships they held,
(FYP), Professor Chan Kap Luk. which often required these foreign students to
maintain good results for their studies to be financed.
Local news hints at the possibility of stress overtaking
the 21-year-old Indonesian student. A drop in performance not only risks the termination
of scholarships but implies, as well, the failure to
The Straits Times quoted NTU President who claimed uphold expectations their families have of them.
to have learnt from Professor Chan that Widjaja was
struggling with his FYP. Social isolation is perhaps another common issue
faced by international students.
The 21-year-old was then claimed to have turned to
gaming because of problems with his FYP, in a report Leaving the comfort of home for Singapore,
by Straits Times on Mar. 5, 2009. Widjaja was also international students have to establish new
alleged to have been upset over the termination of his friendships in a foreign land. Phan observes that there
scholarship. are generally those who keep to themselves in lectures
and often feel awkward forming project groups.
Stress is a topic common to tertiary students
in Singapore, with many complaining that the She also pointed out that Singaporean students could
meritocracy system is at times, too much to bear. The do more to reach out to foreign students in terms of
system champions the rigours of getting a university engaging them in social interactions and encouraging
degree that many locals believe is the key to securing participation from all members during project work.
good jobs.
Valuing opinions and perspectives from foreign
design Felicia Ong

The academic stress is especially significant among students is not only socially inclusive but helps foster
foreign students who, unaccustomed to the local closer bonds between local and foreign students.

6L 7R News.indd 2 3/11/2009 3:37:20 AM


news 07
Academic stress, coupled with social isolation and
a lack of support, may then turn these international This includes taking time to relax in times where
students to seek desperate means. the pressures from schoolwork and other problems
become unbearable.
In helping international students to adjust to life in
Singapore, Head of Counselling and Psychological Koh says this could include spending a couple of hours
Services at the National University of Singapore’s engaging in sports or watching television in between
University Health Centre Dr Ann-Marie Lew said studying times. Doing so would allow students to
counsellors on campus do conduct orientation talks manage stress better.
for international students.
In the face of arguments and suggestions on what
“Staying in touch with loved ones at home may help could have been done to prevent such tragedies
too,” said Dr Lew. “Make use of resources such as the from happening, the spectre of failure is indeed a
International Student Services to get to know the local preoccupation on the mind of every student.
culture and to make friends with other international
and local students.” As we contemplate how this fear compels us to
succeed or destructive extremes, we must bear in
Dr Lew notes that students facing academic difficulties mind that, as human beings embracing our limitations
and related stress do approach the centre but is also part of loving and respecting ourselves.
stresses that these are just some of the concerns
among the bigger variety students turn up with. Whilst it is good that students take their studies
She also acknowledges the rise in numbers of students seriously, at the end of the day, a certificate should not
seeking professional counselling help, but attributes it be a determinant of a person’s life. There are many
a positive sign that “students are more willing to seek things in life that matter and that includes life itself.
help and support to improve their emotional well-
being.” At press time, a second person from NTU has been
reported to have committed suicide. Mr Zhou Zheng. A
Besides offering counselling and psychological project officer from the same School of Electrical and
services to students, the school also provides Electronic Engineering as the late Mr. Widjaja was
workshops for faculty members, administrative staff found hanging in the balcony of his apartment on cam-
and resident staff of hostels to help in identifying pus on March 6. Student and staff members are encour-
students who are facing academic and personal aged to speak to UHWC Counselling members if they feel
difficulties. affected by any events.

However, expecting professors and tutors to keep an


eye on every student in campus will not be realistic.

“Supervising instructors would usually do their best


to monitor the progress of students,” said Dr Leanne
Chang, who supervises final-year students in their
theses. “But busy schedules might keep professors
from knowing the students well enough to observe the
problems they face.”

She also stresses that there must be good rapport


between professors and students to encourage
students to be forthcoming with issues.

Apart from good communication between students


and professors, Oliver Koh, an honours student in
Sociology, points out that it is important for students
to know how to manage their well-being.

6L 7R News.indd 3 3/11/2009 3:37:22 AM


08 news

d o m B l e n d s
R—aTn
he First CNM Ex
hibit io n Wows Crowd
meixian@nus.edu
.sg
s.edu.sg Lee Mei Xian |
an | mk.chin@nu
text Chin Mei Ku
ad Ridza B Salim
photo Mohamm

“Though we are young, we are here. And we are students from the various design courses offered at
going to impact Singapore’s communication industry.” CNM.

That was the promise delivered by Dr. Milagros What was unique about this exhibition was that it
Rivera, head of the Communications and New Media was an entirely student-initiated effort, from the
(CNM) department, speaking at the official launch production and reproduction of the works to the
of “Random Blends,” the department’s first public garnering of sponsorships and generating of publicity.
exhibition on Feb 27, 2009.
This was also the first time all the students involved
At the same time, the department was celebrating were participating in an exhibition.
its tenth anniversary at the National University of
Singapore (NUS). According to Lim Chen Guo, a third-year CNM student
and assistant curator of “Random Blends”, the idea
On display from Feb 28 to Mar 8 at the 2902 Gallery, to have this exhibition first came up in his Digital
Old School at Mount Sophia, the multimedia exhibition Photography and Imaging class.
is a showcase of over 80 pieces of art works, consisting
of photographs, storybooks, videos, video games and The class had decided that to hold their end-of-
posters. semester exhibition outside school instead of
design Felicia Ong

following the tradition of holding it in the Central


These were created by second-year to fourth-year Library.

08L 09R News.indd 2 3/11/2009 3:39:03 AM


news 09
Lim said that Dr. Milagros Rivera was supportive
of the idea and expanded it to include works from
other design modules as well. However, the majority Dr. Leanne Chang, assistant professor from the CNM
of the works displayed are still photographic work department said, “I think that we should continue
nevertheless. with this. The artworks look different in a gallery,
compared to seeing them as student submissions in
Said Lim, “In fact, we are the first school in Singapore school,” she said.
to integrate many different multimedia elements into Genevieve Yeo, a second-year CNM student would like
one exhibition.” to take part in the exhibition if there is a chance for
her to do so.
This is not the only ‘first’ for the department.
Currently
Exhibitions of this nature are common with fine arts taking a visual
students, but for a multidisciplinary programme like design module,
CNM, this is definitely a new first. she found the
For third-year CNM major, Shen Shifa, the demands of exhibition
helping to organize this public exhibition were great helpful. “It is
but the rewards were well worth it. important to
expose myself
“Yes, the preparation leading up to the opening day to designs
was really tough. My recess week was practically burnt by different
because almost every day was spent preparing for it,” people so that
he said I can better
understand how
“But I made some really good friends through this they work from
exhibition. They are a great bunch to work with. And to achieve the
seeing the happy faces on the opening day made me objectives of
feel that it was worth the effort,” he added. their design,”
she said.
Indeed, the problems the team met, from sourcing for
an exhibition venue to selecting publishing materials When asked which was her favourite artwork, she
and looking for funding and sponsorships, were pointed out second year CNM student Lim Hern
overwhelming at times. Khoon’s colour spectrum piece.

Fortunately, they had help from a mentor, Miss Chiang It was series of photographs of himself experiencing
Jing Ying, a CNM lecturer. different emotions, in which every emotion was
matched with a corresponding colour. He had
“There were times when I had to step in to make intended to portray the effect different people have on
minor changes to their displays, because after all, this his usual cheerful self, such that eventually, he finds
is their first time and they are still inexperienced,” said his face blank, from confusion and fatigue.
Miss Chiang,
The warm response received by this first exhibition
“But it was very pleasant working with them because has led the CNM department to discuss the possibility
they are very receptive and willing to learn. They of holding a similar public exhibition every year.
didn’t bring with them any conflicts and egos like most
artists I have worked in the past. Even under tension Even visitors from outside NUS had praises for the
and tight time constraints, they worked very well as a exhibition, like Jonathan Ng, who had to climb several
team.” flights of stairs in a humid back alley to reach the
exhibition gallery, but said that “the flight of stairs
It appears that many who attended the launch liked was worth it.”
what they saw. In fact, they would like to see more of
such opportunities for students to exhibit their works
made available in future semesters.

08L 09R News.indd 3 3/11/2009 3:39:09 AM


02 desk (trebuchet ms 12pt regular, line height 14pt)
desk 03
02 desk

NUS Alumni Office’s Student Alumni Associates welcoming freshmen at the Matriculation Fair 2008.

Connecting with students


Students are our future alumni and the NUS Alumni Student Alumni Associates (SAA) programme
Of�ice reaches out to students from matriculation to The SAA programme is a platform for students to
graduation. plug into the alumni network, develop leadership
and communications skills. They are also given
From the time students embark on a journey of learning the opportunities to upgrade their skills through
and discovery at NUS, the NUS Alumni Of�ice engages enhancement courses.
them, cultivates a strong camaraderie between students
and alumni, and bind them to the University. The programme allows for the students’ active
involvement in the work of the NUS Alumni Of�ice and
The NUS Alumni Of�ice offers students a varied provides opportunities for them to learn, network and
university experience and enriching international nurture the alumni spirit. SAAs can also form student
exposure via student initiatives such as the Student committees amongst themselves to organise events
Alumni Associates (SAA) programme, and also provides and activities to connect with their seniors and alumni
�inancial support for needy and deserving students professionals.
through the NUS Alumni Student Exchange Awards, the
NUS Alumni Overseas Colleges Awards and the NUS Class Ambassador Initative
Alumni Bursary Awards. The Class Ambassador Initiative was launched to
encourage new alumni to stay connected with one
Through the Class Ambassador Initiative, the NUS another and with NUS. Selected graduating students
Alumni Of�ice nurtures students to become future from each faculty were earmarked to work closely with
alumni leaders who will rally their cohorts of friends to the NUS Alumni Of�ice and their respective faculties
stay connected with one another and with NUS. via regular dialogue sessions and communications. As
alumni leaders, they will help their cohort of friends
In addition, your student email account will be foster closer ties with their alma mater.
automatically converted into a lifelong NUS alumni
email account AlumMAIL, upon your graduation. The NUS Alumni Student Exchange Awards
design NUS Alumni Office

NUS Alumni Of�ice also connects students with alumni The NUS Alumni Of�ice offers annual awards of $2,500
through its network of 43 Local Alumni Groups and each to help �inance the study stint of students who
14 Overseas Alumni Chapters so as to build a vibrant are participating in the NUS International Relations
mentorship network and to foster student-alumni Of�ice’s Student Exchange Programme. This award
camaraderie. gives deserving NUS students a chance to study at an
desk 03

Dean of the School of Computing (SoC), Prof Ooi Beng Chin (front row, right) with SoC Class Ambassadors
and new alumni at the New Alumni Welcome Lunch 2008, organised by the NUS Alumni Office.

overseas partner university for a semester or two to Awards annually, each valued at $1,000, to support
gain enriching and valuable global experience. students on the programme.

NUS Alumni Overseas Colleges Awards NUS Alumni Bursary Awards


In line with NUS’ aspiration to be a global knowledge The NUS Alumni Of�ice provides �inancial assistance
enterprise, the NUS Alumni Of�ice encourages to needy students each year to help ease their
students to spend time in overseas colleges via the burden. The NUS Alumni Bursary Awards, valued at
NUS Overseas Colleges programme. The NUS Alumni $1,500 each, help 20 students each year to pay part
Of�ice extends 10 NUS Alumni Overseas Colleges of their tuition fees.

Shaw Foundation Alumni House


The Shaw Foundation Alumni House, managed by the NUS
Alumni Of�ice, is open to all NUS students. It is a buzzing
i beacon for alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends from
around the world to network, build new ties and reconnect.
So visit us today!

You’re invited to NUS Homecoming 2009


h
All students are invited to join their friends and seniors in the
Homecoming 2009 celebrations! The NUS Homecoming 2009 is held
from 21 to 22 March 2009 as part of the weeklong series of Alumni
Complex Of�icial Opening programmes.

As our future alumni and part of our NUS family, drop by the Shaw
Foundation Alumni House and immerse yourself in the strong student
and alumni spirit of the NUS family.

For more information please visit www.alumni.nus.edu.sg.


14 news

New Shaw Foundation Alumni House Opening in March


text Chin Mei Kuan | mk.chin@nus.edu.sg Lee Meixian | leemeixian@gmail.com

The Alumni Complex is commemorating its official of them could create arresting artistic statements of the
opening in the third week of March. intellectual pursuits representative of their respective
faculties.”
Situated at the Kent Ridge campus, the complex
comprises of two distinct, yet visually linked entities – The Alumni Complex is more than just majestic
the Shaw Foundation Alumni House and the National buildings and sights. The OAR also has plans to help
University of Singapore (NUS) Society Kent Ridge Guild needy students financially, especially in these times of
House. economic crisis.

The new Alumni House boasts a full range of Encouraged by and grateful for the alumni’s spirit of
comprehensive array of facilities available for both giving and contributions—in terms of money, time
existing students and alumni to use. and talents—it has also implemented several financial
assistance schemes for undergraduates.
Facilities include business and career centers,
conferencing and seminar facilities, lounges, courtyards, These include the NUS Alumni Student Exchange
and not forgetting a 300-seat state-of-the-art auditorium. Awards, Overseas Colleges Awards and Bursary Awards
and help to finance needy students’ tuition fees, as well
With such facilities, the Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) as student exchanges and participation in NUS Overseas
aims to foster a greater sense of pride, identity and Colleges programmes.
belonging among alumni from years past.
In addition, the OAR will also be reaching out to current
It hopes that this space can be “a singular meeting students through a new collaboration with the National
point for alumni and friends to strengthen social and University of Students’ Union (NUSSU)’s newly created
professional ties” and “stay connected to their alma Alumni Relations unit.
mater.”
As part of its week-long celebration from Mar 20 till Mar
Two of the highlights in this building are the Waterway 28, 2009, the OAR is inviting all students and alumni to
and the Faculty Sculptures. a series of events like NUS Homecoming 2009 and the
Inaugural NUS Alumni Art Show. The NUS Alumni House
In an interview with Associate Professor Teo Choo Soo, will also be open for visiting during this time.
director of the OAR, he explained that the Waterway is
dedicated to all returning alumni.

“Returning alumni,” he said, “are metaphorically


described as the resilient, determined Atlantic salmon
that brave the tides and torrents of the volatile and
turbulent working world to return to their alma mater.”

“Thus, the Waterway leads our alumni through a journey


from the past to the present, from visions to successes,”
he said.

On the other hand, the Faculty Sculptures at the Faculty


Square, located at the Alumni Terrace, symbolise
something different altogether: global partnerships and
vibrant networking.

The sculptures were carved by an NUS community


of alumni, students and staff under the guidance of
renowned sculptor Chong Fah Cheong (Social Sciences
‘71).
design Samyuktha

Said A/P Teo, “[This was exceptional because] the


participants had never put chisel to stone before. Yet each
Loki
Loki is often called the Sly
One, the Trickster, the Shape
Changer, and the Sky Traveler.

According to Norse mythology,


Loki is a god or jötunn (a
race of nature spirits with
superhuman strength) or both.

He had a varying relationship


with the gods; sometimes
assisting, sometimes causing
problems for them.

However, Loki’s positive


relations with the gods ends
when he causes the death of
Baldr, the god of light.

Loki is connected with fire and


magic, and can assume many
different shapes (horse, falcon,
fly). He is crafty and malicious,
but is also heroic.
16 loki

Transsexuals – The
‘absent’ talent
Let’s put our money where our mouth is, and make profits.
text Kokila Annamalai | kokila.annamalai@gmail.com

In the rainforests of South America, or the face due to the bigotry the collective society imposes
remaining unspoiled lands of Africa, the aboriginal upon them.
people still living with Stone Age technologies give
reverential positions to the transsexuals amongst We have heard all this before. The injustice of society,
them. the quickness to judge everything different from us,
the marginalizing of people and suffocation of certain
Transsexuals are considered magical, kin to the gods groups, ripping them of a chance at an equal life of fair
and possessed of shamanic powers. In all their lack of opportunities – we do this all the time.
“progress”, this is one thing they have beaten us to.
So why change? Leaving all these moral obligations
A transsexual person is one who experiences we so often talk about but which we are disinclined to
incongruence between his or her physical sex fulfil, let us talk business.
and gender identity. This conflict almost always
manifests in early stages of awareness, and is known Before the 1980s, Bugis Street was renowned for its
to be caused by factors which interfere with foetal nightly parade of gaudily dressed transsexual women,
development.

Who we commonly refer to as a transsexual is


someone who has undergone the alteration of physical
form to fit the gender identity experienced by the
individual, but this need not be the case.

Transsexuals often experience much trauma if they do


not change their sex as they feel like they are “stuck
in the wrong body”, a common expression they use to
explain their struggle with self identity.

On top of having to fight this battle, transsexuals in our


society also have to deal with the social oppression,
culturally indoctrinated shame and self-loathing they

If we open our minds and our


photo Sandra Mu/Getty Images

economy to transsexuals, we
may not need to build casinos
to bring in the tourists.
design Samyuktha
loki 17

flirting with visitors and posing for pictures. The sex If we open our minds and our economy to
bazaar culture was thriving. This fanfare attracted transsexuals, we may not need to build casinos to
hordes of westerners drawn to the dramatic Asian bring in the tourists. Browsing travel blogs of various
queens and their charms. western male tourists and what they have to say about
Singapore, it is difficult to come across any which don’t
But then of course, there was urban redevelopment. point out how much they enjoyed Gold Dust, a drag
Shopping malls and restaurants left no room for our queen cabaret night club.
drag queens who were forced to pack up and leave.
And you can never have too many shopping malls. And Several interesting researches have indicated
that was the end of a colourful episode of Singaporean correlation between transsexuality and intelligence.
history. Not to mention, it was also the demise of a These studies show that a transsexual is, on average,
much-loved tourist attraction and the money that two standard deviations greater than the base
came in with it. population in terms of IQ. Another correlation that
arises is between transsexuality and creativity.
Not to suggest that transsexuals should be restricted Transsexuals have been found to possess a higher
to the prostitution industry, but it seems ridiculous degree of artistic and general creative ability than non-
that while non-transsexual prostitutes are readily transsexuals.
given licenses by the government, transsexual
prostitutes have to inconspicuously stand or stroll so These probabilities for higher IQ and greater creativity
that they do not get caught at their “illegal activities”. are currently unexplained, but there are speculations
that they could be the result of the ‘cross-wired’
Once again, not that we should have to worry about nature of the brain that may benefit from an unusual
whether this is fair, but rather, about the niche but combination of male and female structures and
lucrative market for transsexual prostitutes that we functions.
are losing out on. After all, a significant number of
tourists’ preferred prostitutes are of the transsexual These studies may not be a hundred per cent accurate,
category. but there may be some truth in the idea that people
who have different orientations from the average man
on the street can offer unique perspectives due to their
inimitable experiences and thus formed worldviews.

What with the current recession and the ever-


increasing competitiveness of the capitalist world,
creativity and new perspectives may be the key to a
better, thriving economy.

For those who oppose providing transsexuals


and other minority groups of people with fair
opportunities because of morality, perhaps we should
give them access to the same social, cultural and
economic resources we enjoy because of economic
considerations.

We could benefit from their talents which are


currently absent and inaccessible to the larger society
because of the prejudices we hoard. Think equality,
think money.
18 loki

She-Males
and
He-Shes?
text Hurriarah bin Sohail | hurrairah@gmail.com

With Loki being able to not only shift


shape but gender as well, the ridge

?
takes a look at the androgynous looks
that have been a staple in music.
Literature and art is littered with descriptions of
the future where you will not be able to tell the sexes
apart. There will be no visible distinguishing features
that would define males or females.

The confusion of gender, the possession of both


masculine and feminine characteristics is labeled as
androgyny. And dubious sexuality and appearance has
always been a staple of music through the ages, past
and present.

Artists like Little Richard, the self proclaimed architect


of rock ‘n roll who wore eye liner, make-up and sequin
decked clothes, androgyny in music really started in
the late 70s and early 80s.

Arguably the first main stream rock star with an


androgynous appearance would have to be David
Bowie. With his pale skin complexion, accentuated
cheek bones and flushed red cheeks the “Thin White
Duke” might as well have been the Thin White
Duchess.
photos connalee & patkisha from sxc.hu

The specific look along with the unisex clothing


and leotards were pivotal in ensuring that live
performances of the concept album Ziggy Stardust
and the Spiders from Mars were true to the original
material.

Androgyny was used by the artist to stay true to his


work, which in David Bowie’s case was the story of
an alien (male/female?) and spiders from Mars as the
design Felicia Ong

title suggests.

18L 19R Loki.indd 2 3/11/2009 3:41:13 AM


loki 19

Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox was also one who


adopted an ambiguous look. Her short hair and penchant
for wearing neutral colors and suits did not only
compliment her music by providing stark visuals that
served as a counterpoint for her alto voice.

Their breakthrough hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of


This)” owed its success as much to Annie Lennox’s orange
crew cut hair as it did to its infectious synth bass line.

Her look was further appropriated by female punk


rockers such as Patti Smith who chose to use androgyny
break the standard stereotype of consumer friendly,
conservative female pop that was prevalent.

?
Down the line as society has becomes more open to
sexuality, alternate lifestyles and redefined gender roles
androgyny has morphed and adapted but still remains a
part of art, especially music.

If you remember the band Garbage you will recall that


their video for their song “Cherry Lips” included a scene
where an invisible Shirley Manson took off her clothes
and then took a piss standing up. Add to this the lyrics
which deal with an effeminate boy and you can see that
androgyny has remained a part of music and was now
more commonplace and upfront.

Brit-pop champions Suede’s lead singer Brett Anderson


also exuded a certain spectrum of feminine wiles so to
speak giving a whole new color and meaning to many of
his dark and sinister reflections on sexuality like those
showcased in the song “Animal Nitrate”.

Another band that shot to prominence during the 90s


and still is around and going strong, Placebo also draw on
androgyny and the general blurring of the lines between
the sexes. With songs like “Nancy Boy” and lead singer
Brian Molko’s girly looks and formless clothes the band
conveys a message of self confidence, self worth and
acceptance for all.

And even today if we look around we can see female


musicians in male garb and asexual looking waif emo
rockers. Even Rihanna’s got a mullet!

So while we can easily think of great male musicians and


great female musicians, we must remember that for some
of the most influential artists the gender lines were not
so clear.

18L 19R Loki.indd 3 3/11/2009 3:41:13 AM


20 loki

Rebels with a Cause


It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees

– Emiliano Zapata

text Arzish Baaquie | arzish@gmail.com

Loki refused to bow down to the god Balder (the Norse god of Lightning) and in a subsequent scuffle,
ended up killing him. As a result, the god Odin punishes Loki by binding him in his (Loki’s) son’s entrails
(yes, the Norse were an imaginative bunch) for all of eternity. This month, the ridge looks at some figures
over the course of history who have questioned avuthority and refused to take things as they were.

Joan of Arc The year is 1424. A 12-year old French girl is lazing about in the
fields owned by her family. Out of the blue, she begins having
what she refers to as ‘divine visions’, persuading the girl to assist
in France’s effort to drive out the English. For four years, these
visions occur ever-so-often, resulting in this girl volunteering to
join the French army. This girl, as you’ve probably guessed, was
Joan of Arc. At the age of 16, she attempted, unsuccessfully, to
become part of the French resistance forces. Due to her lack of
training and the fact that she was a young girl, she was denied
any role in the forces. After making several remarkably accurate
photo http://library.shu.edu

predictions about the military maneouvers of the English, French


army commanders began taking notice of her. She dressed like
a male soldier so as to not attract unwanted attention and not
be singled out by her comrades. Joan of Arc turned out to be a
remarkable military leader and tactician, engineering several
key victories. She was captured at the tender age of 19 and
subsequently burnt at the stake as a ‘witch’ by the English. Her
acts of heroism and the strength of her character have been etched
into the annals of history.

Omar Mukhtar
Often referred to as the ‘Lion of the Desert’, Omar Mukhtar led the Libyan
resistance against the Italian colonial forces for a good twenty years. A
religious teacher who was well-versed in guerrilla warfare, Mukhtar became
the arch-nemesis of the Italians in Libya. Mukhtar and his small, compact
army of rebels were very familiar with the harsh terrain and were able to make
photo http://en.wikipedia.org

life for the Italians miserable. General Teruzzi, the main military authority
overseeing Italian colonialist operations in Libya, described Mukhtar as
possessing “exceptional perseverance and strong will power.” From 1911
till his capture in 1931, the Lion of the Desert steadily led his men to protect
their homeland from the powerful colonialists. Soon after his capture, he was
hanged in front of a concentration camp of Libyans, but not before deeply
design lee wanyu

affecting the Italian prison wardens, who were moved by his stoic demeanour
and refusal to cower in fear.
loki 21

Bruno was an Italian scientist and philosopher who refused to recant


any of his beliefs or theories, which eventually led to his death. In the
16th century, Italy was not exactly a hotbed of new ideas in science and
religion, with any ideas that sounded remotely different or unfamiliar
being deemed ‘heretical’, a crime punishable by death. Giordano Bruno
Giordano Bruno

photo http://palermo.blogolandia.it
insisted that the universe was an infinite realm and that the Sun is at
the center of the Solar System (heliocentrism). Bruno was Galileo’s
predecessor and set the tone for the rebellious scientists of Italy.
Captured by the Romans in 1592, Bruno was tortured for a good seven
(yes, you read that right, seven) years before he was sentenced to be
burned at the stake as a heretic. When the judge announced the death
sentence for Bruno, he was met with the following statement: ““Maiori
forsan cum timore sententiam in me fertis quam ego accipiam (Perhaps
you pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive
it).” A martyr for science, Giordano Bruno willingly accepted death so
that his theories and teachings could live on.

Ernesto Che Guevara, or simply ‘Che’ to his near and dear, was an Argentine
Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla
Che Guevara leader. Born in 1928 into a middle-class family, Che was surrounded by a plethora
of books from an early age, which led to his great pool of knowledge. Che admired
photo http://photosthatchangedtheworld.com

the revolutionaries who had graced the history books and idolized Spartacus. He
was known for his refusal to turn a blind eye towards injustice and his attempts
to alleviate this injustice took him all the way from Argentina to Congo, with
countless other countries thrown in between. One of his greatest achievements
was the successful overthrowing of the dictator Batista in Cuba, done alongside his
comrade-in-arms, a certain Fidel Castro. Castro described Guevara as intelligent,
daring, and an exemplary leader. In 1967, whilst deep in hiding in the Bolivian
forests, Che was captured by the CIA-backed Bolivian army, who went on to
brutally execute him. As he was about to be shot, he was asked if he was thinking
of his own immortality. His response was “No, I am thinking about the immortality
of the revolution.”

A slave who went on to lead his own army of rebels against the mighty
Roman Empire, Spartacus embodies the never-say-die attitude that makes
a true leader. Trained as a gladiator before his enslavement, Spartacus
Spartacus
photo hhttp://www.militaryartgallery.com

was known to be an astute tactician and a great motivator. In 73 B.C.,


whilst in captivity, he led a rag-tag bunch of seventy other slaves to rebel
against their Roman captors and escape. As legend has it, Spartacus
turned back from the border of Italy, i.e. from safety and freedom, and
instead, accompanied by his ‘army’, turned around and marched back
into the heart of Italy. He amassed an amazing support, with his army of
followers and fellow slave-soldiers numbering 140,000 at one point of
time. Sadly, the most powerful empire in the world was not about to be
brought down by a runaway slave and Spartacus was eventually slain.
According to the Roman historian Plutarch, “finally, after his companions
had taken to flight, he (Spartacus) stood alone, surrounded by a multitude
of foes, and was still defending himself when he was cut down by a shower
of arrows and a blur of swords”.
22 canvas

Ang Yao Zong | Year 3| FASS CNM


design lee wanyu
canvas 23

Jennifer Goh | Year 4 |School of Computing

send your contributions to ridge.canvas@gmail.com


24 loki

A Toothy Grin Is All It Takes


text Tay Huizhen |benediction.jay@gmail.com

As ‘God of Mischief’, Loki must have had a trick or two up


his sleeves for unassuming innocents, but before you expect
any Punk’d-style shenanigans, the ridge shows you how
the professionals work their respective sleights-of-hand.
photo http://k-kinofilm.ru/

We’ve lined-up cinematic mischief stemming from the


grizzly old to the ‘innocent’ young, so sit back, relax and in
the words of William Blake, see what it is to play unfair.

‘Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels’ (1998) is trademark Guy


Ritchie and is till this day, one of the director’s best known
works, other than his relationship with Madonna and the
eternally damned ‘Swept Away’ (2002) which featured
her. Back in bachelorhood, here’s to hoping he returns to
his creative roots in bringing us all that boisterous fun and
photo http://i.realone.com/

back-alley Brit wit, served straight up by former football


photo http://www.entertainmentwallpaper.com/

player Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham of The Tranporter


(2002) fame. While Ritchie did try to re-create its success
in the Tinseltown-tinted Snatch (2000), with Brad Pitt
fronting publicity, no less, critics were none too receptive
about what they felt was a lack of inspiration.

It’s hard not to contemplate on the theme of mischief


without bringing to mind Hollywood’s wild child, Tarantino.
The heist film Reservoir Dogs (1992) is a masterpiece of
the cult-status director. But while the film is more rogue
than slick, the Ocean’s franchise, minus the second, is
easily digestable caper comedy. And yes, Brad Pitt still eats
in ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ (2007). Displaying his acting chops
photo http://www.wallpaperbase.com/

by munching on actual chops throughout the film, none


can deny, however, the bachelor ease with which he does
so and the suave nonchalance adds to the mock ‘league
of extraordinary gentleman’ theme. Contrary to popular
photo http://img.photobucket.com/ albums/v68/geo175

opinion, it is really the oddball mix of Ocean’s Thirteen,


rather than Danny Ocean (George Clooney) himself which
steals the show.

Other than Gangs (of New York, 2002), ‘Catch Me If You


Can’ (2002) was the other artistically and commercially
successful film that followed Leonardo DiCaprio in his
early post-Titanic (1997) days. This charmer of a flick
that is based on the real-life story of a serial trickster sees
clean-shaven Leo in his element. From the abovementioned
films, we already know it takes a pretty face to pull off
convincing conman and loverboy Leo was born to play this
role as the actor wields his schoolboy looks to great effect in
design lee wanyu
loki 25


AIt’s hard not to contemplate on the theme of mischief
without bringing to mind Hollywood’s wild child,
Tarantino. The heist film Reservoir Dogs (1992) is a
masterpiece of the cult-status director. But while the


film is more rogue than slick, the Ocean’s franchise,
minus the second, is easily digestable caper comedy.

portraying the dapper Frank Abagnale Jr. The montage


of Leo engaging prolifically in a string of counterfeiting
episodes is a delight that puts the fascinating in fraud.
A seamless and effortlessly fluid drama by Spielberg,
who infuses idiosyncrasies of 1960s suburban As we slowly move towards a younger target audience,
America with that of detective classics and even hints it should come as a relief that there is no intention of
of noir; and with the help of an aptly, sneaky-sounding including Baby Geniuses (1999) in this reel. For PG-
score by renowned composer John Williams, cheating rated family fun that is at least still palatable, stumble
never seemed so fun. upon cute boarding school intrigue in the light-hearted
movie ‘Madeline’ (1998). Based on the successful
Before quirky MTV movies like Napoleon Dynamite children’s book series, strong-headed Madeline often
(2004) and the tongue-in-cheek sleeper-hit Juno lands herself in trouble, but the young heroine’s kind-
(2007), there was ‘Ghost World (2001). A still hearted motivations and quick-thinking ultimately
relatively-unknown Thora Birch and Scarlett save the day. A more recognisable face in this movie is
Johanssen pedestalises dead-pan in this wicked Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand
treat of teenage angst and dysfunction. Based on the as the steely but maternally compassionate school
eponymous graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, the two mistress, Miss Clavel. The quaint setting and costumes
young-ladies-protagonists attempt a mean prank on should also do enough to ease audiences into rooting
a middle-age geek, Seymour, played by the never- for Madeline as childhood fun and laughter is served
disappointing and endearing Steve Buscemi. Ghost with a twist.
World is in many ways reminiscent of American
Splendor (2003) and like the latter, what makes this
film a blast to watch is an insanely cool script and a
cast of kooky characters to dish out the tickles.

This writer believes that Thora Birch was the definitive


‘Ellen Page’ before the latter shot to fame with her deadpan
expressions in the sleeper-hit Juno (2007).
26 transmedia

NAF ‘09: Arts and Environment


For 2009, the CFA teams up with the Faculty of Science to present
ArtsFest ’09 based around the theme of the arts and the environment.
Variance

With the annual NUS Arts Festival collaborating


text Hurrairah bin Sohail | hurrairah@gmail.com
with the Faculty of Science, the theme for this year
photo Tan Niap Heng
was The Arts & the Environment. Focusing on this
theme, the NUS Centre For the Arts commissioned
T.H.E Dance Company to stage two choreographed
performances specifically for the event.

Variance was a double bill contemporary dance


performance, featuring the work Singapore’s
own Kuik Swee Boon and Taiwan’s upcoming
choreographer Zhang Xiao-Xiong.

Both performances sought to explore the


relationship of Man with the environment. What was
interesting to note was their interpretation of the
environment as being both the natural and man-
made.

With dance moves that reflected manic movement,


and stretched limbs portraying the tension in the
interactions of man and his surroundings, both
dance performances depicted their interpretations
of the subject matter.

Another interesting point about Variance was the


fact that both performances used the different parts
of the same composition. They showed how the
same melody and the same composition can be used
to portray and entirely different palette of ideas.

The composition and score featured “environmental


sounds” ranging from traffic on a busy road, water
dripping, rustling of leaves and construction site din.

The second performance also featured spoken word


to elaborate upon the dance and choreography. The
text and translation is as follows.
design Samyuktha

26 29 Artsfest.indd 2 3/12/2009 4:03:00 AM


transmedia 27

photo sxc.hu
Dancers during Variance

Rhapsody on An Equatorial Evening

Another two fold event held for this years Arts


Festival was Rhapsody on an Equatorial Evening.

The event consisted of a talk by renowned


astrophysicist Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell
followed by an evening and night of star gazing.

Professor Jocelyn Bell, whose research on pulsars


helped win her supervisor a Nobel Prize and opened
up a new field of study in astrophysics set the tone
for the event with her talk.

Peppered with wit and effortless ease, she talked


about the birth of the stars, their life cycles and their
deaths linking them with the formation of elements
such as Iron and Calcium.

Thereby she ended her talk with the novel concept


that every human being is made up of stars in the
literal sense.

This was followed by a trip to the SRC Field, where


the participants braved the soggy field (the eventw
as almost called off because of rain) and stared at the
night sky and constellations with a new appreciation
for what they saw.

26 29 Artsfest.indd 3 3/12/2009 4:03:03 AM


28 transmedia

Stargazing at the SRC

“The main thrust of my talk is that atoms


in the body, especially atoms heavier than
Hydrogen were created in stars. We are
all made of star stuff.”
-Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell

In your opinion, what is the relationship between the arts and the
environment? How do the two interact and influence each other?

“Again, they relate pretty well. I


“The arts could nurture the believe artists get their influence
cultural and human environment, from nature and things that go on
and act as a “soft-coating” to an around them. Creativity (which
existing harsh environment. The the arts so heavily endorse) is
environment, on the other hand, derived when a person feels most
could spur issues and topics of inspired, and most often these
concern which could be presented come from experience and their
in the various art-forms.” predicament, which are all linked
-Michael Wong to their environment.”
(Antonym) -You and Whose Army?

26 29 Artsfest.indd 4 3/12/2009 4:03:07 AM


transmedia 29

How do you feel that your particular art-form and your performance
for NUS Arts Festival 2009 reflect the theme “Art & Environment”?

“I tried to use dance to highlight


a glaring environmental issue. My “Our music is based mostly
dance piece, “WO/OD” focused on human interaction with
on Deforestation and the resultant our surroundings (and not
damages that it causes to the earth just songs of emotional love
and the human race. Through a and love lost), and how we
forest setting and humanising the have been so caught up in
trees and the ecosystem, the dance our own little world that we
piece celebrates nature, laments have misplaced our priorities
the abuses to it, and explores the in caring for things that harm
sensitive reliance that human race rather than the precious
has towards nature.” which are diminishing.”
-Michael Wong -You and Whose Army?
(Antonym)

“I don’t see how dance as a medium speaks directly to the natural


environment as does, say, the medium of architecture. To talk about the
environment with the ‘form’ of dance and not as a narrative layering
was in itself intriguing. I find the body to be one link between the
two, in fact, the three: dance, architecture (built environment) and
the natural environment. The approach we took in Second Nature to
address the theme for NAF, was to explore the link between dance and
architecture through the presence of the body in both.”
-Kiran Kumar
(Antonym)

26 29 Artsfest.indd 5 3/12/2009 4:03:08 AM


30 transmedia

Tired of all the run-of-the-mill overrated Hollywood films


featuring in the local theatres? Check out the 3rd Singapore

Singapore Indie Documentary Festival (http://www.substation.


org/3SIDF/), hitting our shores from 8 – 16 March 2009
and featuring some of the edgiest but highly relevant
documentaries in today’s world.

Indie With a main programme spanning 10 days and over 20


screenings, as well as a series of free ‘fringe’ screenings, the
films will explore a wide range of fascinating topics such as

Documentary
the lyricism of Haruki Murakami, the compelling propaganda
of the Soviet Union, the untold story of Malaysia’s struggle
for independence, the intense and insane Brazilian passion

Festival
for football, democracy in a Chinese primary school, life as
an Israeli reservist, to mention but a few.

This reviewer was invited to an exclusive preview screening


of three such documentaries. The first, The Alpha Diaries,
provides a voyeuristic and realistic view into the lives of
members of the Israeli Reserves, akin to our local reservists.
Shot over a 5 year period using a hand-held camcorder, the
director, himself an Israeli reservist, captures the wide range
of feelings and expressions of not only his fellow soldiers,
but also of the Palestinians whose households the officers
are assigned to ‘spot-check’ and search. The footage is gritty
and due to the fact that it is all very real and unedited, the
expressions of the soldiers and Palestinians communicate
text Arzish Baaquie | arzish@gmail.com countless emotions in every frame.

The Strawberry Fields was the next documentary to be


screened. It tracks the trials and tribulations of a group
of strawberry farmers who have their farms in Palestine.
Filmed with more professional equipment than the previous
documentary, the strawberry fields truly are a sight to
behold. The sheer human effort and meticulous preparation
that goes into cultivating a harvest is sometimes astounding.
The director does a commendable job in capturing the tragic
plight of these Palestinian strawberry farmers, many of
whom are extremely impoverished.

“Loucos de Futebol” (Beyond Soccer) highlights the extreme


passion Brazilians possess for the beautiful game. Tracking
the fortunes of two sets of fans, belonging to rival football
clubs in Brazil, the director seamlessly mixes disturbing
anecdotes and hilarious interviews with breath-taking
stadium footage, resulting in a documentary that really is a
design Adi Yoga Sidi Prabawa

joy to watch.

To watch the above-reviewed documentaries, along with


many more, head to the Substation and have a blast.

30-31 SG IndieDocFest.indd 2 3/11/2009 3:48:21 AM


transmedia 31

“ The Alpha Diaries,



provides a voyeuristic

“Loucos de Futebol”
and realistic view into highlights
the lives of members
of the Israeli Reserves,
akin to our local
reservists.

(Beyond Soccer)
the extreme
passion Brazilians
possess for the
beautiful game.

30-31 SG IndieDocFest.indd 3 3/11/2009 3:48:24 AM


34 transmedia

The Curious Incident of


the Dog in the Night-time
text Shahirah Mohamed Ansari | shahirah_@nus.edu.sg

The Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) expects a brutal honesty. For this reason, the people around
prevalence rate of 24,000 individuals with autism Christopher lose their patience with him very
in our population of 4 million, of which 5,472 are quickly. Without the cooperation of key witnesses
children under the age of 19 years. They also and suspects, Christopher must go about his self-
estimate that 216 new cases of children with autism appointed task alone.
are diagnosed annually.
What is especially interesting about this book is
These are alarming statistics. The onset of that it is written from Christopher’s perspective,
autism has been attributed to numerous factors; thereby giving readers a basic understanding
environment and vaccinations being among them. about how different, and yet, at the same time, how
In view of this disturbing trend, it is imperative that similar, the mind of an autistic person is compared
our generation of future parents and educators to ours. It is this aspect of the book that makes it
understand what autism is. memorable, since the plot itself is rather simple and
unremarkable.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-
time is among the tools we can use to acquire an In the end, what we learn most about Christopher
awareness of autism, as well as dispel common and his counterparts is that with patience and
stereotypes and myths surrounding autism. Having compassion, an autistic individual can come into
previously worked with autistic individuals, the writer, their own and be a functional member of society,
Mark Haddon, therefore has considerable insight teaching the rest of us a thing or two along the way.
into the behaviour and thought processes of people
suffering from autism.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time


chronicles the earnest attempts of an autistic
teenager, Christopher John Francis Boone, to solve
a neighbourhood mystery: the brutal slaying of Mrs.
Shears’s dog, Wellington. In the spirit of his favourite
sleuth Sherlock Holmes, Christopher vows to find
the perpetrator, much to the annoyance of his father
and Mrs. Shears herself.

Despite his autism, Christopher displays an almost


savant-like intelligence, especially in mathematics
and physics. His preference for lists, rules and order
probably contribute greatly to this. His eye for detail
and love of puzzles puts him in good stead to solve
the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.

Autistic people tend to process all that they hear


and see literally, and hence tend to be unable to
design lee wanyu

prevaricate or understand sarcasm. They lack


the subtle art of tactfulness, and are thus given to
lifestyle 35

text Arzish Baaquie | arzish@gmail.com

Looking for a swanky restaurant to impress your


significant other with? the ridge saves you the hassle and is of a perfect consistency. Without an exceedingly
of searching the island for a suitable place to go and visits bitter after-taste, the tiramisu is the perfect way to round
Da Paolo’s. off a meal, one that will definitely win you brownie
points with whoever you go with.
Tucked away on a street adjacent to Holland Village,
Da Paolo’s prides itself on its friendly staff and top- Overall, Da Paolo’s impressed us with their
notch homemade pasta dishes. I went down to the knowledgeable and attentive waiters as well as their tasty
restaurant on a quiet Thursday evening, after having
made reservations to be on the safe-side. The maître
d’ informed me that getting a table at the restaurant
without reservations on a weekend was akin to striking
the lottery. As my guest and I proceeded to take a seat,
we observed that the dimmed lighting and simple décor
added to the cosy ambience exuded by the restaurant.

We ordered a caprese (mozzarella cheese with tomatoes)

authentic Italian fare. The prices were a bit on the higher


end but were justified by the overall dining experience. If
you’re looking for a classy restaurant away from the usual
hustle and bustle, for any special occasion, this is where
you want to head to.

as an appetizer. A simple and traditional Italian dish, it


sufficiently whetted our appetites for the main course.
Going by the recommendation from the maître d’, we
asked for a tagliatelle granchio (pasta with crabmeat)
and a taglioni aragosta (pasta with crayfish). Both dishes
turned out to be delicious. The thick and creamy sauce
of the tagliatelle complimented the generous portions
of crabmeat, making it some thoroughly satisfying fare.
The succulent pieces of crayfish were the highlight of the
taglioni, which had a lighter feel to it due to its tomato-
based sauce.

The final piece in our Italian jigsaw was the tiramisu. Da


Paolo’s pride and joy, the tiramisu melts in your mouth

For reservations, call: Da Paolo’s 64761332


www.dapaolo.com.sg

35R Lifestyle Food Review.indd 3 3/11/2009 4:00:22 AM


36 snippets

Dare to Question - Discover Hinduism


Date: 21 March 2009
Time: 11.00am to 2.00pm
Venue: YMS Auditorium, 54 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187953
Age: 17-30 years
Fee: Your question about Hinduism emailed to project.gyan@gmail.com along with
your name and contact number

A youth forum organised by Chinmaya Yuva Kendra Singapore. Have your questions
answered by Swami Mitrananda, who is known as much as his deep knowledge of
Hinduism as well as his dynamism and ability to connect with the youth. For more
information, contact CHYK Singapore at 9055 4777 or email project.gyan@gmail.com.

USC Productions '09: Something Old, Something


New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue is a quadruple-bill presented by the NUS
University Scholars Club (USC). Featuring a powerful medley of four short plays by experienced playwrights
from the USC community and alumni, this latest installment of the club’s annual production will have audiences
sympathizing, agonizing, and clutching their sides in laughter with the talented actors from the USC.

The plays will be staged at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 22 and 23 May 2009.

Contact Yi Wen at yi_wen89@hotmail.com for ticketing enquiries.

The Lady of Soul and Her Ultimate “S” Machine


This year, the graduating students of the NUS Theatre Studies Program go
sexy with their version of a local satirical play written by Tan Tarn How and
directed by Casey Lim. The play revolves around a nation’s search for ‘soul’.
A committee with sub committees followed by sub sub committees was
formed to define what makes a vibrant nation. Derek, a civil servant leads
the nationwide investigation for ‘soul’ and meets with three individuals, three
idiosyncrasies and three ideologies. Between an arts activist, a communist
and a mama-san, who will have the answer to the nation’s search for soul?

Date: 9 April 2009 (Preview), 10 - 11 April 2009 (Standard)


Time: 3pm and 8pm (Only 8pm shows on 9 April)
Venue: The Arts House, Playden
Ticket Price (Excluding S$2 Ticketing fee): S$18 (Preview), S$20 (Standard)
design Samyuktha

Enquiries: Call The Arts House Ticket Hotline: 6332 6919 visit www.
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38 outspoken

Shape-shifting Singapore
Ch-ch-ch-changes!
text Helen Victoria Scida | helenvs@nus.edu.sg

“Change. It’s going to


happen.”

Loki, the Norse god of mischief and a legendary ubiquitous. HDB upgrading, estate redevelopment,
shape-shifter, inevitably reminds me of Singapore’s heritage site renovation, road works, drain works,
whirlwind of shapes from a fishing village to a everything works – sometimes you wonder how
cosmopolitan city in just decades. Singaporeans ever managed to get by without lifts
stopping at every floor, non-air conditioned buses and
Taking a step back and looking at her on the world only one political party. Oh, wait.
stage, she is a prolific shape-shifter; changing
from a third to first world country in years within But it is inevitable – change comes to every shore no
independence, with huge demographic evolutions in matter how long we might want to hold it off. And
literacy, life expectancy and much more. Some might Singapore has never shied away from change, and for
argue that the Singapore of today resembles little, if the most part it has been to its benefit.
nothing, of the Singapore of yesteryears.
Without embracing change, we would all probably still
A letter to the Straits Times Forum on the 25th of be living in kampungs; but here comes the rub – is it
February remarked how little the author ‘recognised’ change we needed? Would living in kampungs be all
Singapore; how so many places had changed so much that bad? Riding on non-air conditioned buses? Those
that for many older Singaporeans they are living buses wouldn’t have TV mobil, at the very least. Maybe
now in a country more or less alien to them. Gone we must reconsider, especially on the last point.
are the little ‘mama’ shops to be replaced by huge
supermarkets; gone are the wide-open fields to be Have unavoidable evils accompanied change? For
replaced by yet more HDB blocks; even our grand example, eradicating kampungs meant better and
National Stadium isn’t good enough anymore. more hygienic living, but it also meant the breaking
up of people into HDB estates. From all the reports in
Why this thirst for constant change and revamp? the news [and personal experience, sadly] neighbours
Everywhere, we see construction being carried out
- the Public Works Department [tellingly satirized
by Singaporeans as ‘Purposely Want to Dig’] sign is
design Samyuktha
outspoken 39

are not so much the people who have grown up with While the effects of the casinos will only be seen once
you and whose kids play with yours in the compound they are completed and open for business, some are
behind your houses, but the people you fight with already predicting dire impacts on society. I don’t see
over corridor space and spy on through the peephole why everybody’s in a flap. It’s not like Singaporeans
of your door. Have we lost our kampung spirit to haven’t been gambling since 1819, and possibly earlier.
individualism, economic competitiveness and the We will meet this challenge favourably, and it may be
continual striving to keep up with changes in the also a valuable eye-opener for those of us who have
world outside Singapore? sheltered too long under Singapore’s squeaky-clean
image.
Some changes have taken Singapore by storm – the
decision to build casinos after years of condemning Change – it’s going to happen. You have to lose some
gambling was one of them. Another was the decision to gain some, right? While some of us may bemoan
to allow homosexuals into the civil service as well as what we have lost, here is what we have gained – an
the public acknowledgement that while homosexual enviable standard of living, better opportunities in life,
sex would remain a punishable act under law, that law and worldwide respect for how far we have come in so
would not be an active one. little time.

The latter can only be a good change, and possibly But yet, not forgetting where we come from and the
also a precursor to one day actually legalising not people who may be left behind in our race to embrace
only homosexual practices but also same-sex unions. and implement change. As the byword of the Obama
Anything that makes Singapore more open and campaign testifies, change can and should be a positive
inclusive can only be a good thing as we reap the thing, and we should make sure that it stays that way.
benefits from being a more mature and diverse society.
02 desk (trebuchet ms 12pt regular, line height 14pt)
desk 03
42 sports

NUS Open
text Shahirah Mohamed Ansari | shahirah_@nus.edu.sg

The NUS OPEN 2009 was held over two days and saw up in the Men’s Single Category. There were also an
pool players from different universities and levels encouraging amount of new faces taking part. The
putting their months and years of training into good winner of the day walked away with a trophy and a
use. The event held at West Coast Billiard Saloon on the playing cue sponsored by The Q shop.
21st to 22nd of February 2009 attracted a total of 96
participants. The second day of the tournament witnessed an
even more interesting battle among the universities.
NUS Cue Sports started out 6 years ago by a group of Spectacular shots and amazing feats were achieved
like-minded individuals with a passion for pool and has free-flow. A total of 11 teams from 3 universities (namely
since grown in strength to around the 100 players we see NUS, SMU and SIM) came to this 10-ball tournament.
today. Weekly trainings are conducted at Klassic (Jalan
Beseh), WCRC (Clementi Stadium) and Mambo Billards The 10-ball game is more difficult than the normal 9 Ball
(Bukit Timah Plaza). game because of the addition of an extra ball and some
new twists to the rules. Not only is it harder to pot a ball
NUS OPEN 2009 saw the first of many great things. during the break, each and every shot has to be called
Organized by NUS Cue Sports and with strong support to be considered a legal one. The highlight of the day
from The Q shop, Milo and Singapore Sports Council, the was when former rivals - the top team of NUS and SIM –
NUS OPEN 2009 was the first project by NUS Cue Sports met each other in the finals, recalling memories of their
that not only catered to NUS students but also players previous encounter during NTU Open 2008.
from the different universities allowing them to compete
against one another.
During the finals, we saw the top players - also the
design Adi Yoga Sidi Prabawa

The first day was a day filled with surprises. Ladies’ captains of the NUS and SIM inter-varsity teams - John
champion Toh Liu Jun defeated NUS 8 Ball Carnival Lim and Desmond Goh meeting one another. Their
7-times Ladies’ champion Evelyn Teo in a bitter fight nervousness was apparent as both John and Desmond
during the semi-finals. Chu Yi Nan - an up-and-coming missed the 8 ball in the first rack. Eventually, John cleared
player and a new name - also emerged as the runner-

Sin TV 28-29.indd 2 3/11/2009 3:50:43 AM


sports 43
9 Ball Tournament (Individual)

Men’s Category Women’s Categroy


Winner John Lim (FOS yr3) Toh Liu Jun (FOS yr 3)
1st Runner Up Chu Yi Nan (FOS yr 2) Sie Hui Min (FASS yr2)
2nd Runner Up Jason Lee (FOS yr 3) Lin Jing (Bridging Student)

10 Ball Tournament (Team)

Winner SIM Team 1


1st Runner Up NUS Team 4
2nd Runner Up SIM Team 2

the table and claimed the first two racks as his. Desmond The organizing committee met with a number of
Goh was not one to be trifled with, though as he difficulties throughout the preparations. Due to the
recollected himself, gave chase and took 5 straight racks recent economic downturn, responses from the
to win the game with a score of 5-2. The whole match corporate companies for sponsorships were poor. Having
lasted for an hour and a half and SIM Team 1 (Desmond said that, the committee still received a positive response
Goh, Mike Nguee, Eugene Lim, and Jace Tan) emerged as from their regular sponsor, The Qshop which generously
the winning team of NUS OPEN 2009. sponsored a total of 3 cues and 2 vouchers valued at
$70 each. Milo also provided 20 cartons of Milo for the
For some, the event was enjoyable because it offered participants.
them a chance to play pool. Crystal Ng, (FASS Year 1),
said, “NUS OPEN allowed me to gain experience so that Looking forward, NUS Cuesports would be organizing its
I won’t feel so nervous when playing next time. I was yearly NUS 8 Ball Carnival in September 09. This is open
also very happy to meet other female pool players who to all NUS students and staff with an interest in the game
shared the same interest as me too.” For others, they regardless of their skill level. The NUS Cue Sports Club
felt that having a 10-ball tournament was a great idea as would like to thank all participants from NUS, SMU and
it has never been hosted at tertiary level before. Joshua SIM for supporting this event and they look forward to
Sandosham, (FASS Year 1), said, “I have participated seeing everyone in the 8 Ball Carnival this September.
in several pool tournaments but NUS OPEN is one of a
totally different experience.”

Lok Khoi Mun (Science Year 2), the project director for
the event (and Chairperson of NUS Cue Sports Club), said,
“Organizing this competition was not easy; we needed to
put sponsorships, publicity and logistics together within
2 months. I would like to thank my organizing committee
for putting in so much effort into this event. Also, I would
like to congratulate all the winners in this event”.

Sin TV 28-29.indd 3 3/11/2009 3:50:43 AM