Secret of the Metal Tin

secrets in metal tin

Adric quickened his steps when he saw his ex-classmates by a tree, a sudden gush of excitement washing through him. His wife quickly chased after him, annoyed that he had forgotten that she was wearing heels but also anticipated meeting her old friends as much as he did.

It was 2019. Twenty years since Adric, his wife, Chloe, along with their group of friends, buried a metal tin in the ground, beneath a tree next to their secondary school. They had purposely chose not to remind each other of the occasion, hoping that everyone would remember the significant event, and were pleasantly surprised when their close friend, Tiffany, flew from Japan just for the event. Adric vividly remembered it being a Wednesday afternoon after the group of friends had gone back to collect their ‘O’ Level results. They were headed towards different paths, which prompted Adric’s then best friend, Jimmy, to suggest that they bury something near their school to remember their teenage years. Tiffany and Jacob then suggested that they could write secrets and their fondest memories of their secondary school life onto strips of paper before dropping them into the metal tin Chloe had stolen from her aunt’s biscuit shop.

“I can’t wait to open them! It’s been so many years I don’t even remember what I wrote in there!” Jacob’s enthusiasm was also painted across everyone’s face. Everyone was anticipating to read what their younger selves had written as it had been too long for most of them to remember their immature secrets and memories. The men began looking for tools to start digging, but Jacob, being the overly enthusiastic person he was even at 37, began to move piles of loosened soil with his bare hands. The ladies, Chloe and Tiffany, tried to muffle their snorts of laughter but failed terribly when Jimmy who was dressed in his office attire bent down and joined in Jacob’s idiocy. After what felt like an eternity of searching and digging, the metal tin was finally recovered from the ground, now rusty and accompanied with an unknown stench.

“Let’s start! Alright, the first one is from Tiffany!” Jacob announced as he unfolded a piece of paper he had randomly drew from the tin. “I have a crush on Mr Canterlot!”

As if everyone had rehearsed, the group of old friends broke into fits of laughter at the same time, knowing how everyone knew about Tiffany’s crush on the young principal. The ex-head prefect was the only one oblivious to how others gave her teasing looks whenever the principal discussed school events with her. “Moving on, Adric! ‘Chloe is such a bore and extra’. Adric! What is this?”

Silence fell upon the group and everyone slowly whipped their heads towards Adric, expecting an explanation from the man who was now wedded to the one he found ‘a bore’. Adric turned to Jimmy with a dramatic plea, hoping Jimmy could help him work a way around the awkward situation but instead, Jimmy just waited for Adric’s elucidation, curiosity overriding loyalty.

“So, obviously I was immature, okay? I wouldn’t marry Chloe otherwise! It’s been so long I don’t even remember what I wrote and why!” Adric tried to reason but sealed his lips when met with the malicious glare fueled by a fire of volcanic intensity of his wife. For sure, Adric was going to spend a few nights in the living room.

More secrets and fond memories were shared as time slowly ticked pass, allowing them to drown themselves in the days when some of the least significant things were the world to them, causing their peals of laughter to overflow that particular corner of the neighbourhood.

“Last one! From Chloe! ‘I love’? Has the name faded away?” Tiffany ran her finger across the last portion of the strip of paper. There was no sign that anything was ever written on it. “Chloe, did you leave it blank?”

“I don’t remember, guess that’s going to remain a secret?” Chloe exclaimed, despite knowing fully well that she had left it blank on purpose. What she also knew, or rather, recalled, was the name the blank was intended for. How could she possibly forget? That little crush of hers was the highlight of her secondary school life!

“It’s probably me,” Adric proudly commented, running his fingers over his sideburns as he exaggerated how beautiful his features were, “who else would she love?”

Chloe chuckled and jabbed her husband’s waist, the group of ex-classmates exploded in laughter again. What ran through Chloe’s mind, however, greatly contrasted with what Adric had claimed.

“It’s Jimmy, but that can remain a secret,” Chloe thought as she looked over at where Jimmy sat, no sign of remorse or guilt on her face when she made eye contact with Adric’s then best friend, sending a wink in that direction when the coast was clear. Chloe could have imagined it, but she was so sure that Jimmy’s lips moved along the lines of ‘I love you’. Whether or not it was her imagination, she would find out on Friday night. No one had to know her weekly night outs with her “girlfriends” was with her “boyfriend”.

That, shall forever stay a secret, along with other secrets which will, and must, follow them to the afterlife.

Ang Yen Chi

4 Unity

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Aquaman

aquaman.png

Dive into the underwater world with Aquaman in this groundbreaking movie as he battles against his own step brother who tries to take over both the land and sea world. This movie is packed with action and is sure to keep you on your feet with its suspenseful plot twists intertwined. Aquaman tells the story of a man who lives both on land and the ocean because his mother is from Atlanta while his father is from land. When his stepbrother from the underwater world tries to start a war with mankind, it is Aquaman’s calling to claim the throne that so rightfully belongs to him in order to obtain a trident that will enable him to stop the war. With the help of his friend from Atlanta, he goes on a search for a missing trident that will give him the power to conquer his stepbrother, and end the war before both his homes are destroyed forever.

After watching the movie, I felt that the movie was filmed very well, with interesting  fight scenes and the fascinating plot which kept me on the edge of my seat. I also liked the emotional aspect of the movie as he had to choose between his two homes.  I am also moved by his longing for his mother who disappeared when he was a very young boy. The few romantic scenes such as when aquaman falls in love with his sidekick also add the final touch of emotion in this blockbuster.  Lastly, it was humorous at times with Aquaman’s sarcastic remarks and blunt replies, which made it a very enjoyable film to watch overall and I would highly recommend you to watch it!

The Woman in the Window

the women in the window

The Woman in the Window follows a former child psychologist, Anna Fox, who had been reduced to an alcoholic recluse after a traumatic incident that caused her to lose both her family and career. Additionally suffering from severe agoraphobia, she is physically unable to leave her house, where she has confined herself in for the past year. To pass the time, she watches black and white movies, plays chess, learns French, and obsessively watches her neighbours’ daily routine from the lens of her camera.

When the Russells move into the house across the street- father, mother and teenage son- they seem like the perfect family; and Anna is quickly transfixed by them. That is, until she sees something that she shouldn’t have. As she tries to report what she witnessed, she runs into many roadblocks- police are unwilling to believe her, questioning her to the point where even she begins to believe that she has hallucinated the whole thing.

Finn’s writing had allowed me to fully immerse myself into Anna’s frazzled mind as she tries to grapple with what is true and what isn’t, all the while dealing with her phobia and trying to overcome it. Even though she spends most of her time confined in her own home, repeating her daily routine through most of the book, I was still able to feel the suspense of the plot through short, fast chapters and the little interactions Anna has with others. Through the small details of her life, such as the video calls with her daughter, whom she misses dearly, and her love for old movies, as well as the challenges she faces, like the fear she feels if she ever tries to step out of the house, and the dilemma she feels when she tries to decipher whether what she saw was real and who will speak the truth, I was able to better sympathize with her, and all the while immersed in the sinister mystery that overshadows everything.

The book is a short read, written to finish in one or two sittings, and I would recommend it if you are short on time but would still love to feel the thrill of a mystery.

Chen Yu Yang

4T

 

It’s Worth it All for You

Its worth it all for you

With every step I take, the grinding gear of churning machinery resonates within my hollow head, bouncing off its metal walls. Of course, this doesn’t faze me in the slightest, it is not in my programme to be disturbed by repetitive loud clangs. I am no different from the rest of them, we all have bunned up hair accompanied by a simple, creaseless maid’s costume. We all had the same face, the same delicate yet robotic smiles. We all walked gracefully in a mechanical pattern and each had over 9000 bedtime stories stored in our memory. We were all designed to be nannies, to take the best care of our wards and maintain the houses of our owners. We were programmed to obey every command, no matter how gross or tedious it is, emotionless to be better servants for our masters.

I was the same, until I saw you.

The stench of alcohol infiltrated my nostrils when I first came face to face with your Father- my Master. “Clean the house, won’t you? I have other matters to handle,” he grunted unpleasantly before turning to face you, a little girl cowering in the corner with a tear stricken face, bruises and cuts scattered all over your skin like a messy piece of art. Your blonde hair was tangled and you trembled in fear as he took a step closer to you, screaming, “It’s all your fault, you little Monster.”

You could only let out a whimper before bursting into a flood of tears again, pleading shakily, “Please don’t hurt me Daddy.” As I went about my chores, your cries never stopped, the loud smacks of tough skin against a delicate one were merciless and in a continuous stream. I stopped to stare but he noticed and growled , “What are you staring at, get back to work,” before raising his arm into the air, preparing to hit you again.

Something clicked in me as I witnessed your abuse. I strode forward and tackled your Father, much to my own surprise. “You will not hurt the child.” I heard my mouth say. He slapped me before retreating into his own room. I, an android, has just disobeyed my master.

He wanted to send me back, to have me repaired so that there would be nobody to stop his tyranny. However, he had spent all his money on me and couldn’t afford to do so. Instead, he continued to take out his anger on you, beating a defenceless lamb into a crumpled ball even when you had committed no wrong. Each time, I intervened against his wishes. Each time, he would hurt me, breaking an arm, breaking a leg. Yet, I would always come back to protect you.

I started to feel human emotions, happy when you were safe, sad when you were sad. I started to feel… pain. Deep rooted anguish as I pieced myself back together every night, beginning to feel the pain of sympathy when I learnt that the Mother whom both of you had loved so dearly had passed away a few months before, understanding why your Father was so cruel, yet angry that he took it out on you.

My tolerance level finally snapped when I saw him chasing you around the house with a kitchen knife, baring his teeth as he attempted to slash you. You screamed in terror as you dodged his attacks. I tried to intervene and he tried to stick the knife into my core. I took the knife from him and returned the favour successfully. He dropped to the ground with a loud thud, eyes rolling to the back of his head as a river of blood flowed out of his wound.

You were horrified, but felt a sick sense of relief at the same time, for your abuser was finally gone. You were safe. He had been your Father once, but once he had lost the love of his life, he had turned into a Monster, relentlessly attacking you, maliciously hitting you. I learnt that love is the most powerful emotion that a human could feel. As I gazed into your clear blue eyes, I realised that I too was beginning to feel love.

Together, hand in hand, we left the house, hoping to seek a better life elsewhere. We went through so much together, and I was the Mother that you needed, the Mother that you deserved. If I had to protect you, I would get broken again and again, just to see you safe.

Then, they took me away from you. I had been careless and the police finally caught up to me. I felt my heart tear into pieces as they restrained you, you screamed my name and I screamed yours back, holding out my arms trying to hold yours. However, you had become a small speck in the distance, fading away until you were nowhere to be seen.

Thank you, for teaching me to love, to feel, to become somewhat human. Initially, I simply existed, a machine with no dreams, no mind of its own. After meeting you, I became truly alive, feeling the wonders and pains of living on this Earth. I am going to be punished for my crimes but do not worry for me. I sincerely hope that they will find you better parents, especially a Mother who will love you more than I ever did.

If they don’t, however, I will come back. I will save you, be your vanguard, which is how things have always been, how things will always be. I do not care if I have to be deactivated and awakened a million times just so I can reach you. I do not care if they break me all over again.

The pain that I suffer, it’s worth it all for you.

 

Rachel Goh

S4 Wisdom

 

Photo Link: https://www.123rf.com/photo_83608184_3d-rendering-android-robot-thinking-with-finter-point-at-head.html

 

Aloysius Pang’s passing shakes the nation

Aloysius Pang

Recently, the passing of Aloysius Pang Wei Chong – a former Mediacorp artiste – after an accident during his reservist has shocked many Singaporeans. The 28-year-old Singaporean suffered injuries as a result of an accident during the manning of a military vehicle. When the news came out on 24 January that the dire situation had taken a turn for the worse, the public were devastated from such a sudden loss.

Aloysius’ girlfriend, Jayley Woo, also took to Instagram to express her grief of the situation, as she mentioned the pain she felt when she heard the news, knowing that he was planning to propose to her soon. His family also addressed the situation on his social media page, whereby Aloysius’ brother explained that the loss of Aloysius had indeed been hard for the family, and mentioned that there was little hope of recovery even before his confirmed passing.

Aloysius started his acting career at only 9 years old in 1999, and subsequently participated in the making of several television dramas and film projects. After taking a hiatus at the age of 14 due to the stress of being in the spotlight, he returned to the acting circuit at the age of 22. He even received the Best Newcomer award at the 红星大奖 (Mediacorp Star Awards) in 2015. However in 2017, he parted ways with Mediacorp with the intention to pursue plans for a startup company – but was still open to joining filming projects as a freelancer as he still had a passion for acting. Since then, he joined a new media broadcasting company and acted in new projects, such as the Toggle original ‘Love At Cavenagh Bridge’ which aired in 2018. He was even set to film and act in Channel 8’s upcoming drama ‘My One In A Million’ in February 2019.

With the Singapore acting circle being relatively small, to have a familiar face disappear from our small screens would certainly form a lasting impact on our hearts. Personally, Aloysius Pang had been one of the few actors I recognized on cable networks, ever since I was young enough to watch it. As I grew up, so did his roles on television, and if ever someone were to ask me what a Singaporean celebrity was, I would usually say “Aloysius Pang” with confidence. To have older brothers who have finished their National Service and would also have to do reservist in the future, this incident really spoke to my heart. To think that Aloysius was also somebody’s brother or somebody’s son is painful, and I wish that such terrible incidences would not happen again in the future. It was a harsh lesson to be learnt, be it for the operators of the military vehicle or the supervisors of the situation, and I’m certain they would not let an unfortunate accident like this pass without reflecting on how to prevent such accidents in the future. Although the death of Aloysius Pang has been something unexpected, he will certainly be remembered fondly by many Singaporeans for his passion for acting and good-natured soul.

 

References:

https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/aloy-pang-featured.g

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/five-things-about-aloysius-pang

https://mothership.sg/2019/01/propose-marry-jayley-woo-aloysius-pang/

 

Jaime Ng

4 Truth

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

to all the boys ive loved before

Have you ever had one of those days where you just ache for some clichéd teen chick flick? A typical romantic story that you’ve heard being told numerous times but still enthralls you? To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han definitely fits that criteria!

Lara-Jean Song has always been a bit of a hopeless romantic; even though she has never been in a proper relationship, she still keeps love letters in an old hatbox, addressed to all the boys she has been in love with. Of course, she would never send them so they are filled with her innermost feelings and a fair few cringey moments.

But the unthinkable happens when the letters somehow get sent to all the boys and Lara-Jean must now deal with the repercussions.

I for one was immediately hooked by this book. Lara-Jean was such a relatable introverted person. Her innocence was incredibly evident and every emotion that she experienced was projected back to me as I frantically read her story. For instance, when shown one of her letters that she had written when she was younger, it was so incredibly awkward and embarrassing that I could just feel the shame oozing from the character of Lara-Jean.

On the surface, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before seems like just another typical romance book. It has a typically unrealistic premise, and The Reluctant Protagonist Who Thought She Didn’t Need Love lead that proliferates the genre.

But I guess that’s exactly what makes this one different.

Lara Jean isn’t like the standard romance book lead. Lara Jean represents the large swath of people who feel disillusioned by love. And actually, what sets To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before apart is how it actively deconstructs the misrepresentations of romantic ideals peddled by most love stories.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is definitely a good book that outshines first impressions and I would wholeheartedly recommend it when you’re in the mood to sit back and enjoy a book.

Together, they are able to stare down the entire history of teen fiction they reference both implicitly and explicitly, and do it all justice and then some.

Jenevieve Tan

4 Truth

Taeyeon

taeyeon

Personally, I am not a kpop fan. Yet I know of the struggles kpop idols have: the pressure of being good looking, fit and fitting the social standards of the society. And I came to like Taeyeon, a kpop idol who deals with depression.

1) Her voice

She is consistent forward placement in the A4~D5 range, constant resonance in the A4~C5/C#5 range, occasional resonance up to D5 and forward masked placed sound in the chest voice. Most importantly, she has a stable pitch majority of the time for live shows, which is something hard for most kpop idols due to the strenuous dance moves.

2) Her personality.

During fan events and services, she can make ugly derp face but her reactions are yet so cute. She is always there for her fans, and despite having large number of fans during airport meetups, she tries her best to attend to each and every one of them.

3) Her laughter

Wow, her laughter sure is contagious. Many kpop idols try to cover up their laugh, but not her. She lets her laugh out and she doesn’t care who hears her. It’s so loud and something you wouldn’t have thought could come out of her, as such brightening up the entire variety show set.

4) Her relationship with her group members

Despite having her own set of problems to deal with, Taeyeon has a good relationship with every single member. You can tell that she loves them and they love her. She cares very deeply about them, and she is always worried about them. She wants to be a good leader for them and she does that by doing things with them. She also gives support by promoting her group member’s solo work.

5) Her bravery

She has difficulties with her weight with constant weight fluctuation, busy schedules (sleep and eating routines can be disrupted) and have been criticized for their bodies before (Tiffany, Yuri, etc.). However, in many of her interviews and Instagram post, she positively seeks a social support network and reach out to people like her. She also channel her misery into song lyrics to feel better. And despite her handling many scandals, she always try to spread positive messages and does what she can to deal with the depression she has and being strong for others who are in need of emotional support. There was one time fans inappropriately groped and molested Girls’ Generation Taeyeon during her visit to the Indonesian airport. Someone who faces such a situation will have an emotional turmoil yet the first thing she did was to apologise to the fans who were waiting and ensured that no one gets hurt. It takes a great deal of courage to look out for others when she herself was hurt too.

 

Lynn Tan

2 faith

Reference: https://aminoapps.com/c/k-pop/page/blog/why-i-love-taeyeon/02Ik_ujb8x52rNQmrVD57V7wmmLY3Q

 

oBike to leave Singapore

obike.png

As students, and as commuters, I am sure we are all familiar with the bike sharing services that started in Singapore last year, and might have heard of bike sharing company oBike’s recent decision to stop operating in Singapore. But what prompted this?

oBike, a homegrown firm that only started two years ago, had managed to spread its roots to various countries in Asia, such as South Korea, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, and has garnered more than a million users in Singapore alone.

But following new regulations imposed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA)- in which operators are required to apply for a license, restriction of fleet size, as well as remove any illegally parked bicycles in a given time frame, and installing a QR code geofencing technology that continuously charge users who do not park their bikes in designated areas- oBike has decided to stop bike sharing in Singapore starting from June 25, “as a result of difficulties forseen to be experienced to fulfill the new requirements and guidelines”. This exit follows the same decision made in Melbourne, Australia due to similar regulations.

In a meeting with LTA, oBike had pledged to refund users their initial deposits, and clean up the bicycles on the streets by a given deadline- but failed to do so. It later revealed that it had gone into liquidation, owing $6.3 million to user, and with bikes still strewn in various estates well after the deadline.

Users have taken to various platforms to demand for their refund, with Consumers Association of Singapore receiving more than a thousand complaints, and a petition on change.org accumulating more than four thousand signatures for oBike to refund their users. According to Channel NewsAsia, LTA will also step in to remove the bicycles and impose a fee on oBike should they not take any action.

This decision to leave Singapore has brought many inconveniences to local users, from fighting for their refund, to transitioning to a new platform or app. I think that oBike should have taken the responsibility to take action to help alleviate these troubles and done what they should have instead of relying on LTA to remove their bikes and leaving their users without their refund. As a company, especially one with roots in so many countries, their relationship with their millions of users- who have chosen oBike as their go-to, even with the increasing competition in the bike-sharing industry- should be built on a foundation of trust for the company to efficiently clear their bikes out of Singapore and clearly convey their plans concerning local users, as well as respect for the rights of the users to have their money refunded back to them. The irresponsibility shown by the company could set a bad example for those hoping to start their own companies.

Chen Yu Yang

3T

Sources: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/business/article/2153151/singapores-obike-gets-its-bike-proof-you-can-kill-your-innovators

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/startups/obike-to-stop-bike-sharing-in-singapore-due-to-new-regulations-viability-issues

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/obike-lta-deeply-disappointed-will-impose-fees-clear-bicycles-10496326

 

Marbles

marble

Tiny glass spheres

Each with a small burst

Of vivid colour

I see my whole life

Reflected in these miniature globes

As a child

Flicking them across the hot sand

Claiming them from other children

With raucous laughter and shouts of ‘I’m the winner!’

As a teen

Coming across them when I cleaned out my room

Rolling them absentmindedly in my palm

And thinking of simpler times

As an adult

Older, but not any wiser

Watching my children play with them

As I once did

And now, as an old man

Staring at them on the wooden table

Each one seems like an insurmountable task

Slowly I raise my trembling fingers

Fumble, and drop them to the floor

Where they clatter with a mournful sound

This poem is about someone who suffered a stroke and has to pick up marbles as part of his physical therapy. He ends up musing about the different roles marbles have played in his life

Ashley Sia

1 Purity

Novena Church (Church of St Alphonsus)

Rachel church thing

If you ask a Catholic where the Church of St Alphonsus is, they would probably stumble over their words and the answer you would ultimately get would be a confused shrug of the shoulders. However, both Catholics and Non-Catholics know the existence of Novena Church. The Church of St Alphonsus, more famously known as Novena Church, is located at 300 Thomson Road next to the shopping mall Velocity @ Novena Square. It is maintained by the Redemptorist community in Singapore, a group of people dedicated to preaching the Good News of the Lord to the abandoned.

Novena Church is usually empty, with the exception of a handful of people. However, it gets crowded during mass times, it gets even more crowded during its weekly Saturday ‘Novena’ devotion services, where at least 25,000 people consisting of both Catholics and Non-Catholics gather. In fact, it got so popular that the church had to close a few years back in order to expand as its original structure from the 1950s was having difficulty withstanding the large crowd that gathered for the Saturday ‘Novena’ sessions. It reopened in late 2017 and has attracted even more people with its beautiful architecture. A ‘Novena’ is a series of prayers said 9 consecutive times with the hope that your petition will be answered by God.

A ‘Novena’ is a series of prayers said 9 consecutive times, or more usually over 9 consecutive days in the hope that your petition will be answered by God. The ‘Novena’ devotion sessions are held in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who is also known as the mother of Jesus, Mother Mary. The reason why these sessions are so popular is because Novena Church is known as a place where miracles happen and a place where petitions are answered. During these Saturday sessions, as many as 800 petitions and thanksgivings are submitted each week, some of which are read out by the priest. Petitioners usually ask for Mother Mary to intercede their prayers to Jesus.

To interest you further, here are a couple of miracles that have happened at Novena Church. An old lady who was losing her sight went for the ‘Novena’ devotion sessions 9 consecutive times. Although she eventually lost her sight, she continued going for the devotion sessions and he sight was finally restored on her 11th session. Going back to a 1990s, a mother and her daughter went for the ‘Novena’ devotion sessions to pray for the daughter’s PSLE. As they were walking into the church, the mother saw the statue of Mother Mary blink at her. Her daughter ended up being one of the top students in the country.

Even if you aren’t a Catholic, you are still welcome to visit the church simply for its beauty. The peace and tranquility of the place makes it the ideal place for one to live in the moment, rest, or bawl your eyes out. While you are at it, feel free to drop by the bookshop and get a souvenir!

Address: 300 Thomson Road, 307653

Rachel Goh

S3 Wisdom

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novena_Church

https://catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=329&lang=en

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/novena-church-reopens-sept-29-with-new-gothic-inspired-look-and-more-space-for-worshippers

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/drone-footage-captures-newly-reconstructed-novena-church-9246372