So near, yet so far

Only a thin road separates the north and the south. It has been over 50 years since the end of the Korean War. North Korea’s doors remain as guarded as ever and only a small number of tourists and reporters are allowed in each year. ‘What really happens inside the North?’ many ask.

North Korea and South Korea are worlds apart in many things, such as economy and behaviour. South Korea’s economy is much more advanced than that of North Korea, there is a wide market and South Koreans enjoy the latest technology. On the other hand, North Korea remains shut to the world, as mysterious as ever. South Korean pop music has gained extreme popularity in the last few years; it also has one of the biggest markets in the world for cosmetic surgery procedures. Millions of tourists visit South Korea every year. North Korea does not welcome tourists, and the few tourists that visit the North are only allowed to go around the capital, Pyongyang City, along with two guides.

North Korea holds a record to be the country with the least human rights. Citizens rarely get to decide or vote. Furthermore, being deprived of contact with the world, North Korea earns little profit to meet their country’s needs. North Koreans are no strangers to the food shortages.

Despite all these, the North sustained itself for more than half a century. Furthermore, it has a huge army and many developed nuclear weapons. Maybe this is just the appearance, or maybe it is doing well on its own. Nobody knows.


Reference: ‘Nothing to Envy’ by Barbara Demick and Wikipedia

-Lim See Mun(2P)

Strength in the Face of Adversity


    When you encounter a deadly struggle in your life, what would you do? Give up everything you are doing and resign yourself to fate? If your answer is yes, I want to ask you, why not choose a better option? Bravely carry on with whatever you are doing in your life with strength and courage! This was the path a Jamaican runner took.

    Novlene Williams-Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer just a month before the Olympics, but that did not deter her from competing and winning the 400m race at the Jamaican Championships, and making their Olympic team. She later finished fifth in the 2012 Olympic 400-meter final and won her third straight bronze medal in the 4X400-meter relay. What is surprising is that she kept her illness secret from even her fellow teammates in the relay! Only she, her husband and select close friends knew about it.

    Three days after the Olympics, she had a lumpectomy. In addition, she has had a full mastectomy to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back. You may be thinking, “Oh, she has had so many operations, it would be impossible for her to run a race again.” But no, she hasn’t. Hasn’t stopped running, I mean. In late June this year, she repeated her achievement from last year, winning the 400m at the Jamaican Championships. This qualified her to run at the world championships in Moscow in August, and she said that she would run for all those with breast cancer.

    So the next time you encounter an obstacle in your life, do know that there are many other people out there facing the same or even much worst problems than you. Just stay strong and you will be able to overcome even the most terrible obstacle. After all, if you succumb to your problems, do you think you will ever overcome it?

With reference to:

-Daphne Yow (2U)

Economy Rice


Economy rice stalls are the rage in our local hawker centres. A mind-boggling spread of fried, stir-fried, stewed and steamed dishes, economic rice has an everlasting appeal to the general public due to its affordability, convenience and variety.  Every plate of economic rice is unique and served to suit your personal preferences. Gone are the days when you have to painstakingly remove the coleslaw in your fish and chips and the chilli in your hokkien mee. With economic rice, you are able to choose from a wide selection of toppings without having to fret about wasting the food that is simply not to your liking.

Stalls like this are proliferating all over our sunny island, but have you ever wondered how they came to be? When you think of economic rice, images of lovingly prepared home-cooked food would probably come to mind. Economic rice, therefore, evolved as a way for the general public, especially the working population who hardly have the time to eat, to obtain a quick and affordable meal option outside of home.

Dishes are cooked and laid out on bain maries in clear display. Customers would then point out to the specific dishes they would like to accompany their rice. The final price depends very much on the dishes you select and sometimes, extra charges apply when you take-out. Vegetable dishes are the cheapest; chicken and pork are slightly higher up the scale; and needless to say, seafood dishes are the priciest. Staying true to its name, economic rice meals are generally the cheapest deals available at Singaporean hawker centres and coffee shops, especially if one is judicious in choosing the less expensive dishes.

-Trina Chong(1U)