Winnie Harlo

hhhhh.jpgWith 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Winnie Harlo has famous photographers from all over the world wanting to work with her, and also models for famous brands like Desigual. Who would’ve thought that someone as popular and successful as her had been bullied when she was younger? However, she did not give up and persevered, and got to where she is right now.

Her skin condition, vitiligo, only developed when she was 4. Vitiligo happens when patches of the skin lose their pigment, and it is more noticeable in people with dark skin. There is no known cure for vitiligo, so there was nothing she could do about patches of her skin losing their colour. When she was 4, her skin started to change drastically. She had never even paid any attention to her skin condition till when she went third grade, and all of her friends started to avoid her, because their mothers told them to stay away from her so that they would not catch her skin condition. Her mother had to explain to her class about her skin condition, and that it was not contagious. Even so, students would continue to avoid her just because of how she looked. Her classmates would moo at her and call her a cow.

When she was in middle school, the bullying wasn’t just verbal anymore — physical bullying got involved. She would try to get through each day, without telling her mother about the bullies, wishing her skin condition would go away. In high school, the bullying got worse, and had to change schools. Her new school turned out to be a blessing, as she did not need to worry about socialising anymore, causing her grades to improve. She also got a job at a calling center, and soon she dropped out of school because she did not have time for both of them.

Soon after, a journalist in Toronto named Shannon Boodram saw her Facebook page and told her that she was “strikingly beautiful”. Shannon then shot a video of her which grabbed thousands of views on YouTube. Shannon told her that the camera loved her, and she should be a model. After all that happened in school, Winnie has obviously never even thought about becoming a model. She decided to give it a try after that small encouragement, and contacted an agent. As she expected, the agent rejected her. She wasn’t surprised at all, as this was the kind of attitude she had been dealing with her whole life, being told that, directly or indirectly, she was not good enough. This did not weaken her resolve, and she did not give up, posting pictures on her Instagram and sending them to modelling agents whose answers were all the same, “no”.

Her efforts paid off, and a casting director from America’s Next Top Model contacted her through a fanpage on Facebook that her little sister created for her. After going on the show, lots of photographers wanted to work with her, and one of them stood out among the rest, as he had shot many celebrities like Lady Gaga. He invited her to star in a shoot for his fashion website. She gained popularity slowly, and many brands started offering her jobs to model for their products. Her motto is: Live it for yourself, not for anyone else. She has gone back to her middle school, and talked to students about having confidence in themselves.

She is only successful because she did not give up after people told her she was not good enough, and instead believed in herself and persevered. This is what most people should be doing, and not give up after just one or two negative comments from the people around them.

Sources:

http://people.com/celebrity/models-who-were-told-they-werent-pretty-enough/winnie-harlow

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/a43312/winnie-chantelle-vitiligo-essay/

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

 

Jing Rung (3F)

 

Music Favourites – Car Radio

Twenty One Pilots has been creating incredible one of a kind music that explain their ever growing popularity. With the gargantuan following rolling in, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, the duo, realise the potential they have to change lives and make an impact on society. With this in mind, they constructed an album in 2013 called “Vessel”. Tyler removes his mask in this album and shows that, he too, is human. He touches on issues like loneliness, anxiety and depression which are common problems teens in today’s society face. He wants to convey a message to people who are struggling, that being vulnerable is okay and that everything will be okay in the end. When the going gets tough, we keep our masks on – the purpose of this album is to allow us to see past the masks.

The song “Car Radio” is featured in this album. With simple lyrics, the song actually intensifies loneliness and overthinking. The persona in the song has a mind running at a high speed and mostly thinks about the negative aspects of his life. His car radio is his only distraction from all the buzz in his life, listening to music supposedly gives his mind a break to prevent him from going berserk. He then realises that the unstoppable silence will be his downfall because he cannot stop perusing everything. He finds dissatisfaction in the ugly truths of his life and lacks dignity when he learns that he will only succeed with the price of hurting others and himself. Unable to hide behind music anymore, he feels that he should kill himself so that he no longer has to deal with the stress in his life. He is suddenly enlightened that the reason people kill themselves is that they do not understand the purpose of the fight in life and are fearful of facing the unknown future. This sudden enlightenment scares him and makes him want to stop over analysing situations.

The persona realises how to end the pain, which is to have faith that he will be able to succeed and that life will get better, or to kill himself. The obvious option is to think through his problems and not allow them to overwhelm himself. He ends the song with what he started off with which is that he “ponder[s] of something great” and then he continues to “sit in silence” again. But instead of continuing with the lyrics, the song gets hyped up, suggesting that he stopped over thinking. This is the part of the song where you feel most alive, telling us that he found peace with his over analytical thoughts and allowed himself to live a more enjoyable life.

Tyler once said, “I don’t want to be listened to, I want to be heard”. Allow your mask to fall and hear the things of importance being said.

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Giselle Cho

3G

References: https://www.reddit.com/r/twentyonepilots/comments/3gd371/my_explanation_of_car_radio/

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

To most of us, we use the term “OCD” very lightly in Singapore – we joke about it, we laugh it off people’s phobia of being dirty and we label just about any other people’s tendency of double checking and overly liking cleanliness as “OCD”. However, little do we know that we making fun of people who really have OCD, since we are mimicking people who have some form of mental illness.

“OCD” stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a mental disorder characterised by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts (obsessive) that occur over and over in the mind and repetitive, ritualized behaviours (compulsive) that sufferers feel compelled to perform to reduce the anxiety felt due to the obsession.

People who suffer from OCD usually fall into one of these few categories: washers who are afraid of contamination, checkers who repeatedly check things, doubters who are worry if things aren’t done perfectly, counters and arrangers who are obsessed with order and symmetry, and hoarders who fear something bad may happen if they threw things away.

Common symptoms, among many, include the fear of being contaminated by germs, fear of losing or not having things that might be needed, having the idea that everything must line up “just right”, excessive double-checking of things and accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers.

Singapore is the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder capital of the world. Higher rates of the illness are being reported here as compared to the United States or Europe. OCD was ranked as one of the top 3 most common mental-health disorders in Singapore, with both adults and children and teenagers alike having the condition. Yet, it was found that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder had a poorer recognition as compared to alcohol abuse, dementia and depression (since the condition often goes undiagnosed). There was also considerable personal stigma towards the mental illness, the common perceptions being that the problem is a “sign of personal weakness”, that those with mental health issues could get better “if they wanted to”, and people with such disorders are “unpredictable”.

Actually, many famous people and celebrities too suffer from OCD. Some of the famous ones who reveal their symptoms include Hollywood star Cameron Diaz who prefers to open doors with her elbows instead of using doorknobs; soccer player David Beckham who will re-arrange hotel furniture if it is not to his liking and infamous American president Donald Trump who is afraid of shaking hands with people, teachers in particular (He claims that teachers have 17,000 germs per square inch on their desks as justification for this behaviour.). These people might have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but they didn’t let it stop them from getting in the way of their careers and from being successful. I feel that this is commendable, since OCD happens on impulse, and it can be burdensome and exhausting at times.

Though we may not be able to do anything large-scaled to improve the situation of people with OCD, I feel that we can start by doing simple acts such as not poking fun at people who have OCD, and not having any social stigma against people with mental illnesses in general. I think that we should also be -more encouraging towards them, instead of shying away or holding grudges towards them – it may be imposing on us, but it is far more frustrating on them, hence I feel that we should have more empathy and try to help them be more inclusive and integrated into our society.

Germaine Lee (4T)

Sources:

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/call-for-greater-support-as-more-in-singapore-suffer-anxiety-illness

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm

http://www.newhealthguide.org/Famous-People-With-Ocd.html

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/more-awareness-of-mental/2170996.html

Nene Chicken

nene.pngEven the name alone is enough to trigger a funny bone, but do not belittle this humble fried chicken chain. In the recent months, it has taken the country by storm with its lip smacking chicken chunks bathed in all kinds of sauces. I have only visited the store once, but it has been a tantalising experience for my taste buds. The chicken arrived glazed in a garlic coating, and was cut up into little pieces. Fried chicken is a common finger food among Singaporeans. Hence, I did not expect the opening of this chain to turn many heads. However, what is unique about this particular store’s chicken is the spices involved in its cooking. In addition, the meal is consumed with picks. The store provides these picks as well as gloves to make the eating process clean and fuss-free. I personally enjoyed my meal more because my hands were not greasy nor was the chicken in any way inconvenient to consume. Maybe it was an impression they gave by portraying the whole experience to be of a more comfortable one, but they definitely won me over. Of course, fizzy drinks and fries were served alongside the fried chicken, but this is typical of most fast food joints. An interesting side dish they provided though, was coleslaw. The coleslaw was largely made up of corn and crabmeat. The sauce was not too creamy, hence it was not overly coying like most coleslaws are in nature. Instead, it was refreshing and gave my taste buds a good kick of sweet and salty flavour.

Fried chicken is definitely not a unique food item, or something one would die to try, but we cannot deny that the once-in-a-while indulgence is something our stomachs can still resonate with. As a foodie, I feel that besides going hunting for the interesting, exotic and less seen foods, we should take time to stop and give the unassuming fried chicken a chance.

 

Nicolette Kum

4 Wisdom

Music Favourites

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, It’s Goose House!

“What is Goose House?” you may be wondering. You may be curious as to why the top part of the picture has Japanese words too. Well fret not, for your questions will be answered.

Goose House is a Japanese music group. They were once named “PlayYou.House” but have changed it to what is now today! Goose House has gone through several changes in their members since they were formed in 2011, but currently they comprise of 7 members: Shuhei, Kei, Migiwa, Manami, Sayaka, Watanabe and Johnny. They play covers of songs of many different genres, from J-pop to E-pop, Anime soundtracks to soulful ballads and the music they produce come from anywhere and everywhere. One of the most popular songs they have created would have to be 光るなら(Hikaru Nara), the opening for the anime Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso). Your Lie in April is a widely known and well received anime full of heart and passion. Thus, I find that the song is extremely suitable. Goose House has a YouTube channel with both their original and cover songs: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFDL0NuxUBAvvu1PnIwW2ww (Goose House) and I totally recommend you to check it out!

I love Goose House for their originality and talent. All of them can play various instruments and sing well, especially Kei. When you put all their skills together, you get a bomb of amazement and wonder! How their voices and instruments match so excellently will blow your mind and leave your heart constantly feeling like it’s going to jump out of your chest. One of my all-time favourites would be their cover for the song “Sun” by 星野 源 (Hoshino Gen). The liveliness and joy in the video will never fail to cheer me up when I’m tired or sad. It sneaks into the crevices of my heart and lights it up like fireflies in the dark.

Overall, I’m in awe at the way music can transcend languages. Even though I don’t understand Japanese fully, I can still appreciate the melodies and harmonies I listen to, especially from Goose House. I enjoy listening to their tunes as I can feel their heart and soul in every note and lyric. I suggest that you listen to them as well because you’ll never know if you like it until you try it. Maybe it’ll be the definition of ‘good music’ to you. And good music will forever make me happy, so I hope it will make you happy too?

http://anitay.kinja.com/a-beginners-guide-to-goose-house-1680338479

http://housemate.tumblr.com/post/23431057927/about-housemate

Jaime Ng

2L

 

Vine

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Late last year, Twitter’s controversial announcement to shut down Vine, without a reason, was met with much anger and disappointment.

Vine, launched in 2013, was a six-second video sharing app, and had defined a new era of video revolution in many social media networks, as well as a being a huge source of humorous videos, memes, and even experimental movies. It had helped shape a huge part of the pop culture we see today. And to discontinue it without a valid reason had triggered many critique response from the Vine community.

The Vine website is now only an archive of the videos previously created, and Vine users can save them before January 17, when Vine Camera is activated.

The format of Vine Camera is nearly identical to that of Vine, except it is not a platform, but merely a tool. Likes and comments have become non-existent, and videos created are either shared on Twitter, or saved to the user’s device. However, it is much harder to find videos on Twitter compared to the video- friendly Vine, and fans might have trouble looking for the videos they liked.

The people who suffered the greatest impact were definitely the stars who rose to fame with their six-second videos, who established their bases at Vine. Many have now taken to other platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram or YouTube, but it is just not the same anymore.

However, knowing pop culture, the termination of Vine will definitely bring on a new concept for social media platforms soon, and I anticipate what is yet to come.

 

Chen Yu Yang (2T)

 

Sources: https://thenextweb.com/apps/2017/01/05/vine-will-shut-down-for-good-this-month/

http://topexaminer.com/2017/01/24/vine-website-is-now-an-archive-of-short-looping-videos/

Jokes

It’s the third week of school and I’m sure many of us are really exhausted from all the rushing about and the mountains of homework! Here are some pickup lines to use on your homework so doing them won’t be such a chore anymore J

  1. Are you from Australia? Because you’ve met all my koalafications
  2. Is your name Google? Because you’ve got everything I’m searching for
  3. Did you have magnets for lunch? You’re looking pretty attractive right now!
  4. Do you generate electricity through hydropower because dam
  5. Did you survive Avada Kedavra because you’re drop-dead gorgeous
  6. Do you play Quidditch because you look like a Keeper
  7. Hey, my name is Microsoft and you can crash at my place tonight
  8. Has your license gotten suspended yet? Because you just drove me crazy
  9. Are you garbage because I wanna take you out
  10. Are you Pepsi because you’re so-da-licious
  11. Are you bromine oxide because BrO you’re sodium fine
  12. Are you One Direction because you light up my world like nobody else
  13. Is your name Taylor Swift? Because I’d write your name on every blank space in my world
  14. Are you a mitochondrion because you’re the powerhouse of my life

Source:

https://twitter.com/pickupIines

Chua Wei Ting (3 Purity)

Music Favourites: One OK Rock

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ONE OK ROCK is a Japanese band that originated in Tokyo but has been a big hit in Japan and even America, consisting of members Takahiro Moriuchi, Toru Yamashita, Ryota Kohama, and Tomoya Kanki.

Featuring album 5xxxV.

The seventh full-length album that was released on February 11

The band started recording the album 5xxxV in January 2014 in Los Angeles, US. The album was recorded during their premiere tour in Los Angeles and New York, being their first album recorded abroad, primarily in the US. The album features 13 songs, including  “Mighty Long Fall” that was the theme song of the 2014 sequel film Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, and  “Heartache” which was used for the third film, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. The album was then rereleased as a full english album by the name of 5xxxV : Deluxe after the band signed a contract with warner brothers records. The album debuted #20 on Billboards heartseeker albums. This is a song from album 5xxxV: Heartache

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9v8aNl6Aps

The band has also released many other amazing albums along the way featuring different music styles, intriguing and original songs. An example is their newest album, titled Amibitions. Here is a song from Ambitions : I was King.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0V46khLWnk

 

-Stephanie Guan (4F)

 

Food Review

yum.pngJapanese cuisine is well known for being delicious, yet costly, especially the higher end restaurants located in hotels. Did you know, however, that you are able to find the same food in hawker centres, for a fraction of the cost?

Konomi Zen

Address: #01-59, Ang Mo Kio 628 Market, 628 Ang Mo Kio Street 61, Singapore 560628

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am to 8pm, closed on Sundays

I chanced upon this hawker stall and was amazed by how cheap all the food was. The dazzling array of food included katsudon (pork cutlet bowls) and signature dishes salmon or teriyaki chicken bento (single portion meal) all starting from only $3! I decided to try the teriyaki chicken bento, which came with shredded cabbage, tempura (deep fried dish), a bowl of rice, miso soup, and of course, chicken. The chicken was tender, completely drenched in teriyaki sauce. However, I was surprised to find that carrots were used instead of sweet potato in the tempura. Konomi Zen sure lived up to its tagline of ‘Restaurant standard, Hawker price’.

Buta Kin

Address: #04-41, Beauty World Food Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah, Singapore 588177

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11:30am to 8:30pm, closed on Mondays

Buta Kin offers various Japanese curry and ramen (noodles), most not more than $6. I tried the Special Tonkotsu Ramen, which came with pork belly, black fungus, half boiled egg and seaweed. The roasted pork slices were amazingly succulent and the yolk of the egg was perfect, not too runny or firm. The black fungus strips added a good crunch, while the noodles were a little too soft. Overall, it was a extremely reasonably priced at only $6.90, with an enticing presentation, and I’ll definitely be back for more!

Give these two hawker stalls a try, or even the many others dotted around the country, and you will soon come to see how Japanese food doesn’t have to be expensive to be tasty! Personally, I find it ridiculous how restaurants charge over the top prices for tiny portions of food, when one can discover a multitude of options right at the heart of Singapore, in humble hawker centres. Just take a look around, and you will see how our nation has been dubbed the ‘foodie’s paradise’.

 

Jocelyn (4 Justice)

 

People: Makoto Shinkai

makaoMakoto Shinkai, born on February 9, 1973 in Nagano, Japan as Makoto Niitsu, is a famous Japanese director, writer, producer, animator, voice actor, manga artist and former graphic designer.

Shinkai has been hailed by some as being the next “Hayao Miyazaki”, whose name is almost synonymous with anime and has been credited with bringing Japanese animation to a global audience. His most famous works, notably, Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days) (2004), Byousoku 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), and, most recently, Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.) (2016).

Out of all his movies, my favorite would have to be Kimi no Na wa., currently one of the most famous animated movies.

grd

Released in Japan on August 26th 2016, Kimi no Na wa. received critical acclaim and was praised worldwide for its animation   The tear-jerking film was praised for its beautiful animation and emotional impact, The film received critical acclaim and was praised for its animation and beautiful animation.

With its wonderfully animated scenery bound to blow you away, Kimi no Na wa. is a story about a boy and girl who exchanges bodies as a comet is about to hit the Earth. The bizarre occurrence builds a connection between them, and they communicate by leaving notes on each other’s smartphones, distance seems to be the only thing keeping them apart…or is something It is a stunning masterpiece about time and the hearts of two souls intertwined with the red thread of fate. As of January 16th 2017, Kimi no Na wa. became the highest-grossing anime film of all time, overtaking animation genius Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 classic ‘Spirited Away’. Similar to Freaky Friday, this brilliantly plotted supernatural love story is certainly a movie that absolutely cannot be missed!

I am definitely a fan of Makoto Shinkai’s movies and I strongly recommend you to watch them!

 

Laura Zheng (4U)

Image credits:

https://myanimelist.cdn-dena.com/images/anime/7/79999.jpg

https://myanimelist.net/people/1117/Makoto_Shinkai