Music Favourites – Bohemian Rhapsody

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is an old school classic written by the British rock band, Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band’s 1975 studio album ‘A Night at the Opera’. This six-minute hit was the most expensive single ever made at the time of its release.

The reaction was initially mixed due to the different interpretations of the song – some think it is about murder, while others think it is about Freddie Mercury’s battle with AIDS. Nonetheless, “Bohemian Rhapsody” remains one of Queen’s most popular songs and is frequently placed on modern lists of the greatest songs of all time. In 2004, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2012, the song topped the list on a nationwide poll in the UK to find “The Nation’s Favourite Number One” over 60 years of music.

This song is definitely different from modern pop songs but as the saying goes, ‘old is gold’. We should learn to appreciate our old classics more.

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Giselle Cho (2 Faith)

Food Review: Portuguese Egg Tart (Macau)

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Evolved from pastel de nata, a traditional Portuguese custard pastry that consists of a crème brûlée-like custard caramelized in a crust, Portuguese egg tarts were brought to Macau by Portuguese colonisers. Although Macau is situated near Hong Kong Island, there is a slight difference between egg tarts from Macau and Hong Kong, with the Hong Kong tarts being more glazed and smooth. Portuguese egg tarts are a common sight along Macau’s narrow streets, with the two highest-ranking bakeries being Lord Stow’s Bakery and Margaret’s Café e Nata. The owners of the two bakeries, Andrew Stow and Margaret Wong, share a rather interesting history – they used to be married! Unfortunately, not all marriages work out well and the two became rivals in the Portuguese egg tart industry.

Personally, I prefer Portuguese egg tarts to the run-of-the-mill egg tarts in Singapore. Portuguese egg tarts are irresistibly creamier than Singaporean egg tarts and while Singaporean egg custards are baked to perfection, Portuguese egg custards tend to be slightly charred and lightly caramelised, giving the Portuguese egg tarts a distinct flavour that cannot really be put into mere words. The crust of Singaporean egg tarts are also more buttery and take the spotlight away from the egg custard itself. While they are being baked, the Portuguese egg tarts give off a tantalising smell that makes your mouth water, but Singaporean egg tarts seem to portray a drier aroma.

If you get the chance to try Portuguese egg tarts, do take up the opportunity and remember to eat the tarts when they are warm!

Sources:

http://www.tommyooi.com/macau-food/

http://alwaystravelicious.com/2015/03/24/portuguese-egg-tarts-macau/

Chua Wei Ting (2T)

Poem: Writer’s Block

Writer’s block has struck again

No one can say that

My creative juices are flowing.

A lid has been slammed over my imagination

Even if

I know I have the potential.

Inspiration only comes once in a while

It’s not true that

You can rely on your surroundings and experiences

To stimulate your writing.

Everyone knows that

Writing is tiresome and difficult.

I cannot say that

Writing comes naturally to me.

In a cage of dullness and insipidity,

There is truly nothing to write about.

I will never feel that

Imagination can really run wild.

 

(Now read from bottom to top.)

 

Soh Wen Shuen (4S)

Opinions on society – Terrorism

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(the Eiffel Tower lights up in Belgium flag colours to show support after the Brussels bombing)

Paris, Turkey, Jakarta and now Brussels – more and more countries have been surfacing to the top of the news because of terrorist attacks.

The most recent attack was the Brussels bombing that occurred on 22nd March. At least 34 people have died and nearly 200 were injured in the terrorist attacks that struck both a subway station and an airport in Brussels at 8 am local time. According to a member of Brussels counter-terrorism task force, “Previously we were mostly dealing with ‘radical Islamists’ — individuals radicalized toward violence by an extremist interpretation of Islam — but now we’re increasingly dealing with what are best described as ‘Islamized radicals.’”

From the seemingly never ending increase in terrorist attacks, it is clear that something needs to be done in response to them.

As the highly controversial Donald Trump once remarked, “If they can expand the laws, I would do more than waterboarding [on terrorists]. You have to get information from these people and we have to be smart and tough.” This advocates the use of violence against terrorists, to the extent of torturing them to gain information.

Violence, even violence in the name of anti-terrorism should not be permitted. Even though terrorists do unjustified harm to many innocent people, we should not use violence to counter terrorism because it will only incite more anger of terrorist groups against countries and fuel their resolve to carry out more acts of terrorism.

How then should we effectively combat terrorism?

I believe that as citizens ourselves, we need to have the responsibility and maturity to keep our vigilance up during such times of rampant terrorism. After all, Singapore is not beyond being attacked by terrorists, as proven by the Yishun MRT bomb threat in 2001. We can do our part to keep our community safe by alerting the authorities if we see any suspicious behaviour. An example of this would be the US Department of Homeland Security has introduced the “if you see something, say something” campaign as part of public awareness. Furthermore, ISIS, one of the main terrorist groups organising terror attacks across the world, mostly recruits its members through the Internet. As such, I feel that we also need to have more cyber security, not allowing people with ill intentions to manipulate us or influence us negatively.

Terrorism may be on the rise, but if we do our part to make sure that terrorism does not spread in our society, I believe that we can make a significant impact on the world.

Soh Wen Shuen (4S)

http://www.vox.com/2016/3/22/11285254/brussels-attacks-isis-jihadism/in/11046885

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/03/22/trump_endorses_waterboarding_to_stop_terrorism_as_long_as_its_within_law.html

https://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something

Image credit: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03599/Brussels-tributes-_3599383b.jpg

Music Favourites: Charlie Puth

After his hit single “See You Again” written and performed by himself and rapper Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth has gone from previously-unknown to stardom.

Recently, Charlie Puth has proven that he is just as successful as a stand-alone singer-songwriter with the release of his album entitled “Nine Track Mind”. It features hit singles “Marvin Gaye” featuring Meghan Trainor and “One Call Away”, including other new songs like “Suffer” and “Some Type of Love” among others. In fact, Charlie Puth is currently on tour in Europe for his newest album.

“Nine Track Mind” is actually a really interesting name, due to its significance to Charlie Puth. Whenever he starts writing a new song, he starts with eight vocal tracks and one piano track, so the number 9 has a great influence on him. In addition, he always feels like he always has many things on his mind, hence the title “Nine Track Mind”.

One of Charlie Puth’s more popular singles is “One Call Away”, which peaked at number 3 of the Top 30 Singles Chart Singapore (as of Feb 15). It is one of my personal favourites as well because of its upbeat pop soul style and its positive meaning.

Charlie Puth has credited his good friend for being the inspiration behind the song, as his friend lamented that he could not see his girlfriend everyday because they were in a long distance relationship. As a result, Charlie Puth wanted to remind people who are in a long distance relationship or they have loved ones they have not seen for a long time, that they are just one call away.

By Soh Wen Shuen (4S)

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https://s.mxmcdn.net/images-storage/albums/6/5/1/0/3/0/32030156_500_500.jpg

http://musicweekly.asia/charts/top-30-singles-singapore

http://www.mtv.com/news/2271339/charlie-puth-one-call-away-video-long-distance-relationship-anthem/

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/charlie-puth-one-call-away-song-premiere-debut-album

 

Short Stories – Beauty in a Memory

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We watch the first tiny little wave gathering sea water to form a big sea wave as they gradually advance together, at the same speed, the same pace. Gradually it grew the tinniest bit smaller and reaches the shoreline. With a wind inducing swoosh, they covered the golden sand and sent shivers down my spine as the wind rushed past. It is a good feeling; it makes me remember how we walked towards our goals hand in hand, together.

The distant mountain stands alone and still in the distance, a clear reflection of how I feel now. The golden orange setting sun hides behind the mountains, but cheeky as it may be, it would not set until it could spray red paint to add colour to the dull grey of the mountain. Red, yellow and orange streaks of light splash through the sky and add a tinge of excitement to the light blue in the back, and though loneliness freezes my bones as I stand here even with them, I know they will continue to light up the darkness, filling the cold void in me.

I was momentarily overwhelmed by the rush of memories flowing through my soul, reminded of a young childhood gone by, those made with what was once our childish young hearts, and through the many years after, until we grew up. We were together, we were never apart and we were never alone. I find myself grinning to the incoming wave as I was reminded of that embarrassing moment when I cried every time I went to school; when we were running carefree on the grassy plains; when we encouraged each other as the troubles grew too massive to bear alone; the motivation we gave each other to be the best we could be and when we separated. The times we spent together – they were like the sea, the sky and the mountains. Here where we are standing together now.

Like the waves, at some point in time I accepted the fact that all of us would go our separate ways towards the end, but I keep on holding on to the belief that the waves will remain strong no matter what like the memories and bonds we share. All would be washed ashore for the sand to keep, for us to remember, buried but not lost, and we will hold on to it. We take in the salty air and live in this moment while I gaze far and wide, and embrace what the future has to offer, even after we have parted. I make myself remember this beauty in front of my very eyes.

The beauty that lasts in all our minds that we have given to each other

I believe we are all under the same sky just as we are now, so full of life and mystery ahead, under the same sky that holds the vast memories we share together, even apart it would not make a difference because under the same sky is our sea of endless memories, weaved into this beautiful scenery, that lives in our hearts forever.

Renee Ong (2J)

Book Review: The Boy In Striped Pyjamas

This book is about a boy named Bruno who is forced to move away from his enormous home in Berlin with his family into a smaller house with no places to explore. Besides having no one to play with except for his older sister, he’s surrounded by soldiers who are constantly in and out of his father’s office as well as other grown-ups who always seem unhappy. Bruno misses his friends, his grandparents, and Berlin itself and he does not understand what’s going on around him. He hates everything about his new house and is very lonely until he meets the boy ‘on the other side of the fence’.

This book about the Holocaust stands out because of the unusual perspective through the eyes of the 9-year-old boy who has no clue as to what is going on around him. This gives the readers a strong sense of foreboding, long before they know the extent of the terror surrounding Bruno’s world. Readers will be struck by the naivety of Bruno, and the extreme horrors of the Holocaust.

Readers will be able to relate quickly to Bruno, who is uprooted from his home and has to move to an obscure neighbourhood where he has no friends. Being lonely, annoyed by his sister and always ignored by adults, Bruno does not like living in this neighbourhood. He wants to go outside and explore and thus meets a boy ‘on the other side of the fence’ whom he can pay with.

I feel that this book vividly expresses the thoughts of Bruno. This book is suitable for all ages as it is written through the eyes of a young boy so everyone would be able to relate and understand his feelings about the holocaust. We often hear about war from the victim’s perspective. Thus, being able to hear it in the perspective of someone who was in a way part of the attacker’s side will make this book unique. This book is definitely one to remember.

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Giselle Cho (2 Faith)

 

People : Malala Yousafzai

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Known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women, Malala is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. As a young girl, Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education hence leading her to be issued a death threat by the Taliban and was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived as she was sent to England for treatment. Attending the school which her father founded, she gave her very first speech in 2008, entitled “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”, after girls school were attacked by the Taliban. Soon after, she began blogging for BBC on education rights in Pakistan, under another name but she was revealed to be the blogger at the end. With a growing public platform, she continued to speak out on education rights for women, though she was facing a huge risk of probable assassination by the Taliban. As it carried on, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.

The shooting in 2012 brought about more support for Malala and on the live chat via Facebook with Malala soon after, she mentioned about her story, her inspiration and family, her plans for the future and advocacy despite the Taliban threats.

At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In congratulating Yousafzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “She is (the) pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequalled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described her as “a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”

For her 18th birthday on July 12, 2015, also called Malala Day, the young activist continued to take action on global education by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses covered by the Malala Fund, the school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18. “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets,” Yousafzai proclaimed in one of the school’s classrooms.

Malala is truly an inspirational and influential lady who has contributed so much to women and standing up for women rights even at the risk of losing her life. I really admire her for her bravery and courage to stand up for what’s right and holding on to her beliefs, staying humble and strong, never forgetting her initial purpose and goal, even through all these challenges and obstacles she faced at such a young age. Hence, I believe that’s what garners everybody’s support and admiration for Malala.

http://www.biography.com/people/malala-yousafzai-21362253#after-the-attack

Rachael Fong 2L

 

The Beatles

I know when we plug in our earphones the first music we play are mainstream pop tunes, Kpop, the list of genres go one. But how many of us actually jam out to the oldies from time to time?

When was the last time you listened to one of the classics? Was it this morning on the way to school or years ago when you were stuck in the backseat of the car as a little child and lacked rights to controlling the car radio? I’m betting on the latter.

The Beatles have been one of my favourites since young. Of course, I don’t listen to it as much as other songs in recent years, but when it comes on the radio sometimes, I can’t help but take a moment to appreciate one of the greatest bands in history. It’s nostalgic in a sense, it reminds me very much of toddler days.

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential act of the rock era. Rooted in skiffle, beat, and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways. They gained popularity in the United Kingdom after their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962. They acquired the nickname “the Fab Four” as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the following year, and by early 1964 they had become international stars, leading the “British Invasion” of the United States pop market.

They have received ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. Collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the twentieth century’s 100 most influential people, they are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 600 million records worldwide. After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical careers of varying lengths. After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical careers of varying lengths.

It is indisputable that they have made a large impact on the entertainment industry, even till this day. So next time The Beatles comes on the radio, don’t fumble to switch the station, sit back and appreciate one of the biggest bands in history. They are an oldie, but definitely a goodie.

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Sarah Lam ( 4U )

Opinions on society: Save that tetra pack

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For most of us, Chinese New Year is always one of the most festive occasions of the year-it is a time of heart-warming family reunion, bursting red packets and (maybe) more importantly the sweet drinks and pineapple tarts that await our grumbling stomachs. Our stomachs may not be the only ones grumbling though-it could be faint, but if you listen closely you might probably hear the Earth grumbling under the weight of those discarded tetra packs and aluminium cans in the bin, waiting for their turn in the incinerator. Chinese New Year may be an occasion of happy celebration, but the fact that waste is also being generated by us at this period of time most certainly does not excuse us from the horror and mortification of human-induced global warming.

The issue of global warming is probably nothing new to all of us, but it is definitely an area of immediate concern that has called for more attention in the recent years. The rate of global warming has reached an unprecedented peak that has stunned both politicians and activists worldwide-according to the World Meteorological Organisation, the global average surface temperature in 2015 was the highest on the historical record, and had mainly been a direct consequence of strong El Nino events as well as human-induced global warming. The unpredictable fluctuation in surface temperatures due to global warming has already resulted in numerous tragic natural disasters around the world, such as the severe heat wave that struck India in May 2015 and took away the lives of at least 2,500 people, as well as Cyclone Pam which made landfall over Vanuatu as a category 5 cyclone in March 2015 and destroyed important infrastructure in the area. Singapore might be safely sheltered from the dangers of Mother Nature that has wreaked havoc in the homes of people from other countries, but we do not have to be rocket scientists to realise and understand the fact that global warming is inevitable going to become a harsh and irreversible reality for all of us if we continue to neglect the importance of good recycling habits and contribute to global warming with our pollution.

How then, can we save ourselves from the horrors of global warming? The answer comes right out of the mouths of most people before they even know it-reuse, reduce and recycle. As everyone knows it, the three Golden Rules are always the unequivocal solution to rescuing our planet Earth from our own mess and whether we can rescue Earth really depends on our personal decision to adopt positive green habits as a common part of our daily lives. Just bring those tetra packs that you have been collecting during Chinese New Year to the recycling bin, and you will already be helping a couple of polar bears live in a cool and comfortable igloo of their own without the worry of it melting. Some empty tetra packs or plastic bottles might seem insignificant to most of us, but it definitely can go a long, long way in making planet Earth a much better environment for not only us but also the future generations to come.

So, what are you waiting for?

Calista Lo (4L)