Music Favourites: Borders

Borders Article

[verse one]

All these people here

Staring and looking at me

Shaking their heads eyes

Down strong on me

What’s wrong with me?

Can you tell me now?

What’s wrong with me?

Can you tell me, now?

There’s a high chance you had never seen these lyrics let alone know who composed and sang them, that comes as no surprise as this song is neither an album song nor a single. “Borders”, composed and written by Amber, is a synth English hip hop song. The song is “a raw and real story about reality”, according to Amber, with no glamorous concepts or attempts to make it a hit.

She delivers her hopeful message that if you continuously pursue your goals, not giving in to limitations and hardships, someday you will achieve them. This song is something extremely personal and deep for Amber as she have been struggling with her tomboy image since her debut days and very few people have been supportive of her choices through the years. However, Amber never stopped or throw in the towel during her years in a girl group, although she had cleared up the misconception about her sexuality, she continuously emphasise that “love knows no limits” and that she was able to empathise with those facing prejudice as she was once mistaken and placed in their shoes.

This song was written and uploaded on SMTOWN’s Youtube channel for Amber to share her story and experiences through the beautiful lyrics, the amazing thing about this song is that it can be analysed and interpreted differently as all of us have our individual perspectives of her choice of vocabulary. It is definitely a song that everyone should check out. Personally, I enjoy this song very much as I interpret this as the challenges girls face as they go through puberty. The fear of the unknown and those who might judge and how we should stay strong to grow and get through this phase.

[verse two]

Oh fear not ‘cause

I know I’m in his hands

Though I can’t see

I know there’s a plan

So thick the fog but

I know I can trust

The feelings that

I feel when the roads rough

[pre-chorus]

I gotta be tough with my eyes down

Eyes down, eyes down

Strong in my stance with my eyes down

Eyes down, eyes down

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNT-zFJKifI

Ang Yen Chi

2 Unity

Headlines: Bringing life to the world

 

eeee

On 7th April, while it was really early in the morning, three SCDF officers managed to successfully deliver a baby and “brought life into the world”.

It was around 7.45 am when it happened. Pregnant 29 year old, Keryn Toh, suddenly suffered an intense contraction in her flat in Novena and became paralyzed with pain. Her husband, Mr Ho, immediately alerted the paramedics and started pacing worriedly in the carpark. By the time they arrived, it was too late. Ms Toh’s water bag had burst and the baby’s head could already be seen. There was no time to take her to the hospital and they had to deliver the baby right then and there.

Mr Ho was in good hands despite his concerns of the paramedics’ experiences. At 8.15 am, they delivered a healthy baby boy. Shortly after the incident, Mr Ho attempted to send these three SCDF officers a hamper. However, they rejected it, saying that SCDF does not accept gifts. Mr Ho then took to social media to pen down his gratitude to the officers.

In my opinion, I fully understand what Mr Ho was trying to do. I think that we should try to be more appreciative towards our defence officers, in this case the SCDF officers. Most of the time, we don’t really thank or notice the people who make our country as peaceful and safe as they can be. However, if we actually start to appreciate these officers, we can see how much time and effort they sacrifice for our country. We can learn to be grateful as well in this process.

Just like how we say ‘thank you’ to our canteen uncles and aunties or to our cleaners in our school, we can do so too to our officers. Although it would be weird to say ‘thank you’ to a patrolling police officer, we can say a silent ‘thank you’ and be thankful that we have such officers protecting our country.

Rachel Lie

1 Purity

Brandon Mull

Brandon Mull

Brandon Mull is an American author who lives with his family in Utah. Hearing this sentence, remove all conclusions you have thought of him and replace it with one word, “awesome”.

Although his books are more for 10-12 year olds, he is still my favourite author. Brandon Mull is the minds behind the Beyonders series and the Falling Kingdoms series. His clever storytelling not only makes me feel like I’m in the story but I feel like reading it over and over again. As a result, I have read the Beyonders trilogy at least 2 times.

In order to make sense of why I am so obsessed with Beyonders, the answer is simple: Fantasy. Fantasy is one of my favourite genres. The main storyline is about this boy named Jason. He lives a simple life when he is transported to this magical land called LYRIAN. He meets a girl from his world called Rachel (hehe) and they go on a quest to defeat the evil ruler, Maldor. To defeat him, they must say a simple word. However, they have to find out what the word is by collecting the missing letters all around Lyrian. There are amazing characters like a blind warrior or a man who can detach and attach his body parts at will.

However, all this amazing writing did not come just from his head. He has stated that some of his greatest inspirations for his stories include some very famous writers, including J.R.R Tolkien and J.K.Rowling, whose books you may or may not know. He has been writing books since 2006 and he still has big plans for the future. One funny thing about him is that at the end of his books, he would always put in funny jokes and punch-lines to make it seem like he was actually talking to all his readers. He would also keep the content of the next book or story very mysterious. One funny fact about him is that before he became a writer, he worked as a comedian, a movie promoter, a filing clerk and even a chicken stacker.

Above all, Brandon Mull is my inspiration for writing and whenever I have run out of ideas for writing, I always turn to his books. With his magical tales and wacky characters, I get inspired and I know my creativity can run wild and write its own stories if it wants to.

Sources:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700228277/Mull-converted-daydreaming-into-dream-job.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20061119074706/http://www.teensreadtoo.com/InterviewMull.html

Rachel Lie

1 Purity

A Silent Voice that speaks louder than words

a silwnt voice

If you are wondering, ‘Is this another Japanese movie?’, indeed, it is. Recently, there has been a spark in the anime — also known as Japanese animation — industry. More of these films are starting to play on the big screen, especially in Singapore! One of them was the touching and heartfelt movie — Koe no Katachi (the English title being “A Silent Voice”.)

Ishida Shouya — a young boy with an outgoing personality — meets Nishimiya Shouko, a deaf girl. Nishimiya transferred to Shouya elementary school in her final year, meaning there was a need to make new friends. Her classmates were really fascinated about her situation, having never been friends with a ‘deaf girl’. Nishimiya uses a notebook to communicate with her classmates and they help her through writing notes in class. However soon enough, due to frustration and troubles communicating, Nishimiya is isolated and bullied. Shouya takes part in this too, being an impressionable and mischievous juvenile. When Nishimiya’s mother realises that her daughter is being bullied, Shouya is turned into a scapegoat. The class turns against him, giving him the blame and turning him from ‘bully’ to ‘bullied’. Shouya is now a teenager and is finding his way through life. He decides to try to repay his ‘debts’ from the incident in elementary school in a final effort to make sense of purpose and living. Not before encountering Nishimiya again. Will he be able to make amends?

Well, whether he made up for his wrongdoings is left for you to find out and decide! This curiosity was one of the factors pushing me to catch the movie when it came out in Singapore. There are many other factors too. This movie touches on very heavy subjects like disabilities, bullying and ending one’s life. However, it does so in a touching, heartfelt manner that is sure to give you emotions ranging from laughs to tears. Shouya is a very complex character. You may detest him at first but then when you see him develop, you start pitying him. Sometimes I even questioned, who was the bigger victim because of the incident? He matures very quickly and you can’t help but notice the paralleling qualities between him and Nishimiya Shouko. Nishimiya may be deaf, but she isn’t weak. She stands up for herself and is a sweet, kind and caring girl. She’s a character you’ll love instantly. Nishimiya can be stubborn and strong-willed. However, there are moments when you can experience her loneliness and sadness first-hand which really takes her character to another level. Both characters share similarities ranging from experiences to metaphorical disabilities — some that you can only spot if you see the movie for yourself!

The most outstanding thing for me was the use of ‘voice’. As Nishimiya is deaf, she speaks through sign language instead of talking. Even though she tries her best, others couldn’t connect with her in elementary school as the bridge of communication was lost. Shouya, after being isolated himself, grows to block out what other people say. He, being tired of hearing insults and gossip,chooses to be in a way, ‘deaf’ himself. Both Nishimiya and Shouya helped each other get past the traumatic experience in a twist of events. Their troubles from friendship to family problems are all relatable and heart-wrenching, making me shed tears more than a couple of times. The symbolism was really a great factor in telling the story in one of the best ways possible.

On the whole, I enjoyed this movie so much that I could probably watch it a billion times! The animation was great in terms of quality, the plot and storyline was so real and touching and the character development was spectacular. The relatability of this film is one of its most outstanding features, one that sets it above the rest. It may no longer be in the cinemas, but do catch it when it comes out on DVD or blu ray. This catch is definitely worth a shot!

Sources:

http://koenokatachi.wikia.com/wiki/Nishimiya_Shouko

http://koenokatachi.wikia.com/wiki/Ishida_Shouya

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Silent_Voice_(manga)

Jaime Ng

2 Loyalty

If you’re different, you’re not one of us

Have you watched the lesser known movie,Lion King 2, before? It depicts the growth of Simba’s daughter Kiara and how she fell in love with an outsider or outcast, Kovu. The lions were separated into two different pacts. Those who lived outside the ‘pride lands’ were considered banished and unclean, segregated from the other lions. Even though they were essentially the same species with the same needs, they were cast away because they were ‘different’.

I find that this mirrors our society today. As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather stick together”. People tend to form groups according to similarities, shunning those who do not fit in. The ‘cliques’ in schools, the working groups in offices, interest groups and more all reflect the shared sentiment of  “If you don’t like what we like, don’t do what we do, don’t think how we think then you can’t stay”. This thought is scary and can even escalate to fights or riots as shown in the fight between political parties in the USA (after the 2016 US Presidential elections), incited by anger over not having it ‘their way’. What is wrong is that people cannot seem to accept that people who are different are still essentially people. They have the same needs like food and water, maybe even the same wants from the latest iPhone to true love. Just because their opinions or likes are not exactly a replica of yours does not mean they do not deserve the same amount of respect as a human being.

So what can we do? We can start learning to accept others for their differences. Just to be clear, acceptance is different from providing support. Acceptance can be used even during disagreements and does not depend on preference. Providing support, on the other hand, includes being in favour of the other person’s opinions and promoting it. What I’m calling for all of us to do is to inculcate a sense of acceptance: be it from other people’s cultures, opinions and preferences to their way of living and behaving. This way, we can build strong bonds with others without making either party feel discriminated against due to not being the same. We can approach the lonely classmate who sits by herself for recess and include her, even though she is from a different country. We can befriend the person who we had a debate with before, even though he thinks differently in a certain aspect. We can stop shunning people who are different just because they are. We can start learning to accept that others are different and that it shouldn’t affect how we treat them. Be kind, spread love.

Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_King_II:_Simba’s_Pride

Lion King

Jaime Ng

2 Loyalty

Food Review: Chimney Cake

Chimmey cakeChimney cake, also known as Kürtőskalács, is a split cake that originated from Hungary. It is made from sweet yeast dough, and its unique shape is achieved by wounding it on a wooden spit then roasted over a charcoal fire until golden-brown. Traditionally, the surface of the cake is then topped with either ground walnut or powdered cinnamon.

If you want to try this delicious treat for yourself, you can! Located at Scape Orchard, Chimney Singapore is the first Hungarian pastry shop here in Singapore, and is quickly gaining attention for its photogenic, sweet and savoury treats sold nowhere else.

Upon arriving, you can choose between sweet- for cone coating of either cinnamon sugar, peanut or oreo, and an extra $1 for toppings such as nutella, peanut butter or cream cheese- and savoury-for a cone coating of garlic and herb butter with either mozzarella or cheddar and extra toppings include chicken ham, turkey bacon or salted egg.

Another option is chimney cake with softserve, where they add (homemade) chocolate or vanilla softserve to your chimney cake- the owners’ contribution to this sweet treat. The temperature contrast between the two creates a treat worth trying, even at its slightly higher price.

For 10 minutes, the waiting time is rather long- but justifiable, because the cones are made upon order to ensure its crispy texture, adding to the customer’s consuming pleasure.

So if you ever have the time to spare, do head over to Scape to try this Hungarian treat for yourself!

Sources:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCrt%C5%91skal%C3%A1cs

http://sethlui.com/chimney-ice-cream-singapore/

Chen Yu Yang

2 Truth

Jokes and Pick Up Lines

Many students will surely feel stressed by the various subjects being crammed into their brains as they prepare for the exams ahead. During these times, let us take a step back to appreciate the following jokes and pick up lines.

Joke 1:

What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down?
It gets toad away.

Joke 2:

Q: How do trees access the internet?
A: They log in.

Joke 3:

A woman was taking an afternoon nap. When she woke up, she told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?” “You’ll know tonight,” he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled “The Meaning of Dreams.”

Joke 4:

A policeman pulls a man over for speeding and asks him to get out of the car. After looking the man over the policeman says, “Sir, I couldn’t help but notice your eyes are bloodshot. Have you been drinking?” The man gets really indignant and says, “Officer, I couldn’t help but notice your eyes are glazed. Have you been eating doughnuts?”

Joke 5:

Jim, Scott and Alex are tired after traveling all day and check into a hotel. When they get to reception, they find out they’ll have to walk 75 flights of stairs to get to their room because the elevator is out of order. Jim suggests that they do something interesting to pass time while they walk the 75 flights. Jim will tell jokes, Scott will sing songs, and Alex will tell sad stories. So Jim tells jokes for 25 flights, Scott sings songs for 25 flights and Alex tells sad stories for 24 flights. When they reach the 75th floor, Alex tells his saddest story of all, “Guys, I left our room key at reception.”

Pick Up Line 1:

If beauty were time, you’d be eternity.

Pick Up Line 2:

Your eyes are bluer than the Atlantic Ocean, and baby I’m lost at sea!

Pick Up Line 3:

If you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable.

Pick Up Line 4:

Do you know what I did last night? I looked up at the stars, and matched each one with a reason why I love you.

Pick Up Line 5:

Hey, did we just share electrons? Because I’m feeling a covalent bond between us.

cat star

Sources:

http://justsomething.co/10-funny-illustration-depicting-like-celebrate-christmas-pets/

http://www.knowable.com/a/29-intelligent-pick-up-lines-that-will-make-you-seem-smarter-than-you-are/p-4

http://www.laughfactory.com/jokes

Yeo Hui Min Mandy

2 Unity

Goh Keng Swee

Mr. Goh Keng Swee was born into a middle-income family in Malacca but little did he know that he would grow up to become an important figure in Singapore’s history. He was one of Singapore’s pioneer ministers. In fact, he was Singapore’s first Minister of Defence. He helped to establish the strong foundation in today’s Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

In 1967, Mr. Goh made it compulsory for all 18-year-old male Singaporeans to serve in the army as he felt that this would establish a credible defence force and help with nation-building. NS was also seen as the best way to quickly build up Singapore’s defence forces without placing a heavy burden on the country’s financial and manpower resources.

Mr Goh, with his vision to build strong and credible defence force, believed that air defence should be Singapore’s top priority in terms of security. In 1968, when the Singapore Air Force was set up, he saw a need to recruit pilots who could defend our skies. However, instead of setting up a recruitment drive, he set up the Junior Flying Club in 1971 to promote flying among secondary school and tertiary students, and nurtured potential pilots for the Air Force. Today, it is known as the Singapore Youth Flying Club (SYFC). This initiative was both innovative and successful.  This program is still used today. In 2016, 46 members of SYFC received their Wings and Certificates after completing the Private Pilot’s Licence Course at the SYFC and all of them applied to SAF as pilot trainees after their studies.

Mr Goh was Minister of Finance twice and Chairman of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Mr Goh was often referred to as the ‘economic architect’ of Singapore for his great contributions to the transformation of Singapore into a prosperous nation during his terms as Minister for Finance and defence.  As Minister of Finance, Mr Goh spearheaded many of the most impressive public policy achievements in Singapore: Economic Development Board (EDB) (lead government agency for planning and executing strategies to enhance Singapore’s position as a global business centre. We dream, design and deliver solutions that create value for investors and companies in Singapore), the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)(  leading financial services group in Asia), the Jurong Industrial Estate(key-manufacturing sector that provided jobs for thousands of Singaporeans, all while creating a brand new housing estate altogether) .

Mr Goh’s contribution to Singapore can never be understated. Like the rest of his pioneer colleagues his work and commitment set the foundation for the prosperous, peaceful and strong Singapore.

Reference:

www.nlb.gov.sg

www.wikipedia.com

www.pinterest.com

Elizabeth Leong

1 Truth

The Quiet

The Quiet

All was quiet. The sharp, acrid stench of fear permeated the room. Her fear. Two doors, one through which she entered, the other locked, unknown. She waited in trepidation for what was about to come. Her breath came in short pants, unable to take in enough air in her current state of mind, not helped by the dark, musty and cramped room. Her fingernails clawed the concrete floor helplessly. Her heartbeat resonated in her ears. Thump…thump…thump.

Noiselessly, the second doorknob started to turn. Her head snapped towards the direction of motion, pupils blown wide. Her face was contorted in a glassy stare of panic. Click. The door was unlocked. Her heart plummeted.

Inch by inch, the door crept open. The ominous creaking was anything but a respite from her terror. She let out a silent sob of anguish, a plea for help. Deep down, she knew that nothing could help her now. No one could save her.

She stared into the gaping black abyss before her. She heard a rustle emanate from within. She took a deep trembling breath, her hand crept towards the flashlight that lay beside her. She had not kept it turned on before in fear of being discovered. It was pointless now. It had found her. She clicked it on and directed the dim beam at the doorway.

Eyes as black as night, devoid of all emotion, gazed at her from within. A scream of pure terror ripped itself from her throat. The flashlight slipped from her grasp and clattered across the smooth floor. As if a switch was flicked, It’s eyes transformed to a haunting shade of blood red. Her stomach turned to ice. It pounced.

Cries for help and pleads for mercy spilled out from her mouth. Talons enclosed her neck, cold, unforgiving, It’s iron grip not unlike shackles. It dragged her like a ragdoll back where It came from. Her hands scrabbled on the stone floor, desperately attempting to find purchase. She thrashed around and kicked with all her might. It was no use, she was nothing against It. Pain and grotesque horror reflected in her eyes, even as they began to dull from lack of oxygen.

Heartbreaking wails filled the air in a terrible concerto as her legs, her torso, her head, her fingers disappeared into onyx void. Softer and softer, until finally, all was quiet once again.

Jocelyn

4 Justice

Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters To The Dead

Love Letters to the Dead is a refreshing story that explores the concept of death through a very different lens. Not only does it shed light on the psychological impact of suicide, it also sheds light into the reasons behind it. Laurel’s sister, May, has been dead for almost 5 years, yet Laurel has difficulty coming to terms with it. The aftermath of May’s death presses in around her, the warmth and love within her family had vanished along with May’s passing too. In the midst of her grief, Laurel has so many questions unanswered – why did May choose to go, and could she ever forgive May, or herself for May’s death? The letters started as an assignment in English class to a live person. Yet, she soon finds that she finds respite in writing letters to influential people who have passed on – people such as Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain, May’s favourite singer.

Dellaira delivers a brilliantly written form of literature that touches the heart in the most intimate ways in her debut novel. It gave a voice to a character trying to navigate her way out of death, which made it all the more successful. It is a beautiful combination of letter and diary writing that adds on a unique poetic and personal touch to it. I chanced upon this book at the bookstore and it definitely caught my attention at first sight. While we have written letters to our friends before, it struck me that none of us would have expected to write a letter to the dead before. Yet, it is heartwarming that Love Letters to the Dead shows how these letters can hold so much hope in the face of death.

Personally, this book made me question myself about the meaning of living. I believe that as human beings, we are always just a precarious step away from death. It only takes one moment of losing our purpose in life for us to leap off the edge and leave our family in the shadow of our grief. However, Love Letters to the Dead reminded me of the art of being courageous. It also made me realise that sometimes we need to find our own way back from the lost, just like how Laurel writes letters in the hope that she will be able to find answers, and a way to live again after a loved one’s death. Through the unanswered questions which she found answers to towards the end, readers will definitely be sucked into her story as it is told.

Gayle Forman, author of the bestselling novel, If I Stay, commented in a review, “Dear Ava Dellaira: Your book broke my heart and pieced it back together.” It is definitely an amazing book of realisation. Therefore, I highly recommend you to borrow this novel and start opening those letters!

Reference:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18140047-love-letters-to-the-dead

Renee Ong

3 Unity