A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: “That’s the ugliest baby that I’ve ever seen. Ugh!” The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: “The driver just insulted me!” The man says: “You go right up there and tell him off – go ahead, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

Did you laugh? Well if you didnt know that is called a joke. Jokes make us laugh and many of us may wonder what makes a joke funny? I have heard many lame jokes that are not funny and some that have made me laugh with tears rolling down my eyes. What are the differences between a good joke and a bad joke? Research shows that there is a specific area of our brains, which enables us to react to humour. Using a brain scanning method called Magnetic Resonance Imaging, scientists found the precise area was behind the frontal lobes of the brain, in the section of the Prefrontal cortex, which plays a large part in flexible thinking. At Laugh Lab, an experiment was held to understand this phenomena, where a group of people undertook these MRI scans, as well as answering a series of questions. As the subjects listened to jokes, their brain activity was scanned. They were then read “serious” sentences and both results were compared. Their findings were astonishing. When the “punchlines” of the jokes were heard, the scan showed much more activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, compared to when they were read the “serious” sentences. Obviously, it illustrated that when this part of the brain was activated, it enabled the participants to “get” the punch line within an element of surprise – and ultimately realize why the joke was funny.

It was clear that without the function of this section of the brain, understanding a joke would be very difficult, if not impossible. In fact, research shows that people who have suffered from brain damage to this frontal area of the brain have commonly lost their sense of humour.

So next time you hear a funny joke, you will know why it is funny.



Ashley Tung 1P


Food Review: The Benjamins

Freakshakes are a recent trend that describes a huge milkshake with everything from caramel sauce and chocolate chips to red velvet cakes and blueberry pie stacked precariously on top! The Benjamins is widely known for its over-the-top, exaggerated freakshakes that will definitely stretch your appetite to its limits.

Located at Forum The Shopping Mall, the bistro-cum-cafe gives off a retro vibe with soft lighting and rich brown tones. Although famous for their freakshakes, The Benjamins also serves main courses such as Aglio Olio. I visited The Benjamins in the holidays and I believe it is safe to say that the serving is monstrous! My order, the chocolatey heaven known as the Tim Tams OTT Milkshake, which costs $16, is a dark chocolate milkshake in a jar with White Tim Tams, red velvet Tim Tams, caramel Tim Tams, a massive double chocolate brownie, generous helpings of whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and complete with two chocolate wafer sticks. The freakshake was a blessing on my tastebuds and was certainly worth the hole I burnt in my pocket – albeit a small hole, since I did not have lunch after the freakshake.

I recommend The Benjamins for anyone looking for dessert after a light meal, or anyone looking to ignore their new year’s resolution and craving a sinful delight. It would be wiser to share one shake among two or three people though, since the milkshake came with two straws which I did not notice until I had finished the very last drop of chocolate milkshake. The wonderful freakshakes are definitely worth the wait and every dollar spent!




Wei Ting



15 of the Funniest Jokes Ever

  • Two fishes are sitting in a tank. One looks over at the other and says: “Hey, do you know how to drive this thing?”
  • I told my doctor that I broke my arm in two places. He told me to stop going to those places.
  • Want to hear a construction joke? I’m still working on it.
  • Keep the dream alive: Hit the snooze button.
  • I named my dog ‘5 miles’ so I can tell people I walk 5 miles every day.
  • Never iron a four leaf clover. You don’t want to press your luck.
  • Just changed my Facebook name to ‘No one’ so when I see stupid posts I can click like and it will say ‘No one likes this’.
  • Make crime pay, become a lawyer.
  • A blind man was calling an end to his relationship with his girlfriend. “I’m sorry, I can’t see you anymore.”
  • I slept through the alarm this morning. Good thing it was only a small fire.
  • “Doctor! Doctor! I feel like a pack of cards!” “Sit down and I’ll deal with you later.”
  • Little Johnny: Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?

Teacher: Little Johnny, MAY I go to the bathroom?

Little Johnny: But I asked first!

  • What did the teddy bear say when he was offered dessert? No thanks, I’m stuffed.
  • Why did the man put a clock under his desk? He wanted to work overtime.
  • Police arrested 2 kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.



Chloe Kho (2P)


The Lorien Legacies

Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in comic books – but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.


The Lorien Legacies is a series of seven novels written by Pittacus Lore. The series revolves around 18 Loric, who escaped to Earth in the hope of the revival of their species in future after their homeland was attacked by the Mogadorians, another extraterrestrial race who hail from the fictional planet of Mogadore. These Loric survivors include 9 Garde, teenagers who are able to develop superpowers known as Legacies, and their respective Cêpans, designated guardians who protect them and train them in the use of their Legacies. During the war, just before they were sent to Earth, one of the leaders of the planet, an Elder, cast a charm over the children, ensuring that they could only be killed by the order of their numbers, unless they were to gather, thus causing the charm to break.

Upon arriving to Earth, the Garde members split up and live in low profile with their Cêpans, moving to houses in different states and always changing their identities to avoid being captured by the large number of Mogadorians and their leader Setrákus Ra, who had followed them to Earth. Since they look like humans, they are able to pass off as humans by hiding their imminent powers and adapting to the life and culture on Earth. However, despite their best efforts to keep themselves hidden, Number One, Two and Three are killed before the first book starts. The first book, I am Number Four, depicts Number Four (the main protagonist of the series) on the run and subsequently also shows how the charm was broken, thus setting the scene for the Garde to gather and finally fight back in the war between the two alien species throughout the next 6 books.

I’m always kept on the edge of my seat when reading any one of the books in the series, as the books are very suspenseful. The Garde faces compilation in virtually every book, such as betrayal and sometimes the death of their allies, and these plot twists add the element of surprise to the series. Not only that, they leave readers craving for more in order because readers never know what is going to happen.

There’s also a certain kind of thrill and trepidation when reading the series, as you would never know when which member of the Garde would die – since the charm was broken early in the series, all the Garde can be killed randomly at any time. The fight scenes in the book adds to the excitement, as they usually involve the use of a variety of Legacies. The passages in which the Garde use their Legacies are written very vividly and descriptively, to the extent that readers can almost imagine what it would have looked or felt like in real life just by reading the words in the chapter.

All the chapters are narrated in the first person, so readers would be able to put themselves in the Gardes’ shoes and follow the story in the narrator’s perspective relatively easily. We are also able to visualize the situation that the Garde is in, and experience their thoughts and emotions as they go on the run and fight for the survival of their race.

While the constant change in narrator does give readers better coverage as to what is happening to all the members of the Garde, the ‘switcheroo’ can also be a little confusing, especially if one of their narrations reach a cliffhanger and continues only in the next book. One moment you could be reading in Number Nine’s perspective, and when you flip to the next page the words become italicised and you’re reading from Number Six’s point of view. Despite this small shortfall, however, I feel that the series is a really gripping book that many would appreciate, especially for those looking out for adventure. The books are easily found in our public libraries, so do borrow the Lorien Legacies if you are interested!













Germaine Lee  3T


Headlines – Sea Level Hit Record Highs in 2015 due to Climate Change


It has been half a year since 2015 ended, but climate and environmental problems are still bugging the Earth, raising even more concerns as the annual State of the Climate report consolidated 450 scientists from around the world was released.

Reviewing last year’s climate conditions, global warming was definitely the sole cause of the hottest weather by far since 1950. El Nino, an ocean heating trend that further worsens the heating up of our weather, can be especially felt in Singapore’s hot weather.

The increase in greenhouse gases introduced into our environment has had large impacts on the worsening climate has which in turn caused a domino effect whereby ocean surface temperatures rise melting of our icebergs occur at a faster rate, thus causing the steady rise in sea levels. This can be illustrated by situations in The Arctic, which is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and continues to warm, which has led to thinner sea ice cover. Water levels are rising fast in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean too, following in the footsteps of a 3.3mm average increase in sea level. Did you know that snow cover in the northern hemisphere marked the second lowest in a 49-year satellite record in June?

While this happens, more areas experience severe droughts such as South Africa which experienced the hottest temperature of 48.4 degrees Celsius along with Russia and China. In the Antarctic, however, temperatures take on an opposite turn and are plunging instead.

Statistics on some of the other situations affecting the world due to El Nino show that the number of tropical cyclones hitting the earth was well above our average of 82 by around 20 and the Eastern and Central Pacific have been affected by the most number of storms in a year since the 20th Century. Furthermore, algal blooms due to warm temperatures have been observed to be spreading from central California all the way to British Columbia, Canada. Warm waters is therefore one of the most worrying impact of the El Nino which can prove to be detrimental to marine life, coastal resources and in turn all these would affect us as we are the consumers of our resources.

Global warming and climate change is really taking a toll on our environment and these results are just a very recent and updated proof of it. Thus, let us all strive to improve our environmental conditions as much as we can before 2016 ends!



Image credits:


Renee Ong (2J)


Past Skeletons

i have bent my back so far back that it has cracked.

we spend all our money on wishing wells flicking

coins in the water filling the well where water lacks.

i spin words with the thread on this sewing machine

for all the values my combined words are worth.

these words leave me in the flicker of times

where your opinionated self has forced me to

the wall of self-hatred and doubt, where the

key to unlock my skeletons is in your hands


you always open it.




Germaine Ong


Movie Review


Although this is not the typical hour-plus movie, this review will be on a short movie, also popularly known as 微电影 in China and Taiwan, produced by our local Singaporean stars – JJ Lin.  Besides producing his music video for one of his hit songs – Practice Love, he decided to produce this short animation movie as an extension of the music  video and as a dedication to his friend who passed away in SilkAir M185 plane crash in 1997, who also became his inspiration to write the above-mentioned song.

This 11-minute long movie tells a really touching and heartbreaking story of what he and his friend went through together before she passed away. JJ Lin takes plays a computer programmer whose girlfriend, a botanist, dies in a meteor storm while on a routine space mission. Overcome with grief, he develops a programme which converts memories into images, so that people can see those whom they miss the most. The entire concept shows an obvious similarity between the plane crash and the meteor storm in the plot. The sad part of the plot was towards the end when it was known to the world that the programme he developed needed to be taken down and banned because people were too caught up with the past and the illusion of reuniting with people who have already left them have resulted in everyone forgetting to live in the moment and moving on from the past. This gave off a really strong impact as it tries to convey JJ’s message that “some memories cannot be wiped away, and some relationships, once gone, can never come back.”.

As an avid listener of JJ’s songs, I really enjoyed how he integrated the concept of futuristic into the movie to illustrate his relationship with his friend together with the song. It made the movie and the plot to be much less cliché and alienating from the typical Romeo and Juliet story but instead made it so much more touching and surprising in the sense that suspense played a big role in the movie without much words being spoken throughout the movie. I personally felt that this element made the movie much more open-ended and alongside with the fact that this movie was released even before JJ shared the story with the public, so it allowed the audience to freely interpret with their own thoughts and feelings about what’s going on in the movie.

Thus, I really encourage you to check out this short movie that really takes your emotion on a toll!

Rachael Fong


Opinions on Society : The Influence of KPOP

In a world where music makes a huge impact in our lives, from the friends we make to even our personal beliefs, the rapid spread of the Korean Pop culture, not only nationally but globally, plays a big part in everyone’s lives. Almost everyone knows about Kpop and more or less listens to Kpop music like the greatest hit Gangnam Style that took the world by storm, and this ironically stirs up the debate of the influence Kpop brings about to society – the good and the bad.

To say that Kpop is a bad influence is not a fair statement, but it applies aptly to fans who are overly addicted and engrossed beyond the music. Even to the little things like the idols’ personal life – which entirely defeats the true purpose of Kpop music, such that their lives revolve only around the kpop idols’.  This may lead to Kpop being a huge distraction especially for students who leads to dire consequences academically. This is exactly why Kpop has been deemed to be a ‘taboo’ for most parents. As mentioned earlier, these days, fans are no longer in the culture of Kpop just purely for the music but much more beyond that – they idolise the bands so much so that huge amounts of money are involved, on buying idol merchandise like posters, photocards to name a few. , not forgetting the fact that the prices of Kpop albums and concerts are increasingly high these days due to the growing popularity of the Kpop culture. Having money involved is certainly one of the negative influences Kpop has brought about.

As a fan of Kpop myself, I do feel that Kpop does bring about a positive impact on its listeners . Firstly, Kpop music is really powerful in the sense that the genre of music can range from ballad to rock, depending on individual singers/bands This is exactly one of the reasons I feel is commendable. Almost everyone can appreciate Kpop music regardless of preference as there is always a suitable type of everyone. Secondly, besides the idols’ good looks and physique, fans learn about the difficulties and challenges the idols’ face behind all the fame and fortune. Being a Kpop idol in Korea is no easy feat – it takes years of training without even knowing whether there is even a chance of debut. Besides, competition is tight in the Kpop music industry globally with many rookie groups struggling to make their name. Hence, being able to understand what’s going on behind every idols’ path to success allows fans to adopt a positive mindset and the virtue of perseverance and holding on to their dreams. I also feel that through Kpop, people are able to experience and explore a different culture and a whole new set of beliefs. Kpop has also played a big part in broadening one’s horizons in the sense that we are able to make new friends through a similar taste in music – Kpop in this case and adopting a larger social circle.

Rachael Fong



Blade of light

Blade of light – Background wall with door

It wasn’t supposed to be like that.

She was supposed to celebrate graduation in a few months. She was supposed to go to her dream college. She was supposed to get a successful career and make our parents proud. She was supposed to fulfil her dream of finally saving enough money to go to the place she had always yearned to go, France, and adopt the pet she always wanted.

My sister was supposed to have a beautiful, perfect life. A life that was all planned out for her, the moment she opened her eyes for the first time.

Not to be found on Tuesday, unmoving, silent, and dead.

When the police told us about her suicide, my parents immediately broke into a sobbing, weeping mess. But I couldn’t. I felt numb. My mind was blank. I couldn’t even remember where I was. All I could think of was how I came home crying on the first day of school because I didn’t know how to make friends and she comforted me for hours, telling me that it was okay. That I’ll definitely make  friends soon. That she’ll be always there for me, forever.

She lied, didn’t she?

Her suicide was all anyone could talk about then, but it changed drastically when I showed up dry-eyed and emotionless to her funeral, beside my parents, who were too wrapped up in their sorrow of losing their star child. The look of sympathy turned to doubt, tinged with disgust.

Did they think that I was happy over her death, because all my life, she had shone so brightly that a shadow was casted on me? That I didn’t even want to waste a tear on her?

I wanted to tell them that they were wrong. That, despite outshining me in everything and winning all our parents’ affection, she was still my best friend, my partner in crime, and the best sister anyone could ask for.

I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t.

Each day I struggled to stay afloat among the sea of gossips and snide remarks thrown my way, all hoping that I’d drown. Each day, I put on a mask of indifference the moment I stepped out of the door. But each day, I leaned against my sister’s room door, defeated and drained. It hasn’teen opened since her death. Itelt sacred, somehow. Like I wasn’t allowed to touch them anymore.

But on one particularly bad day, I couldn’t take it anymore. The door creaked open reluctantly, letting me into her little world, where her blue walls stared back at me, her overflowing bookshelf spilled onto the floor, her bad unmade, table messy, and bobby pins lay on the floor, forgotten. I froze. Everything about it screamed her, screamed normal, screamed comforting.

Like she went for a walk and was about to come back with her favourite food.

And sitting cross-legged on the carpet, hugging the blue cushion that I had once loved so much, I finally let the tears fall.


Chen Yu Yang


Music Favourites: World is Mine


“What is vocaloid?” I hear you ask. Well, it is a piece of software that is used to model a human singing voice. Before you stop reading this article because you dislike computer generated songs, please hear me out. Vocaloid songs are not that bad, some even sound pretty good! My favourite vocaloid song is ‘World Is Mine’. It is an original vocaloid song by  Supercell, sung by Hatsune Miku.

It is one of the most popular vocaloid songs, with over 20 million views on the popular video sharing site Youtube. This song is about a spoilt girl who considers herself as a princess and that the world revolves around her. However, she falls in love with a boy and resolves to change for the better for him.

Why is ‘World is Mine’ is popular? I find that its popularity is due to the interesting twist in Hatsune Miku’s character when she sings this song. After all, she is often portrayed as a meek and sweet-tempered girl, in contrast to the selfish and fickle girl we hear in this song. This song has a catchy tune, and had me hitting the ‘replay’ button for days upon hearing it. This is also the vocaloid song that got me into vocaloid music in the first place. This is also the vocaloid song that is said to have begun vocaloid music’s popularity!

Overall, this is a catchy and interesting song. Even if you have never heard of any vocaloid music before, why not give this song a go? After all, you will never know if you never try! For those of you who have already heard this song and like it, there is an official sequel to ‘World is Mine’ called ‘I’ll teach you’, which sounds equally nice or better. Here are the music video links in case you are interested:

‘World is Mine’ music video:

‘I’ll teach you’ music video:


Rachel Goh