People: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, a name so many of us have heard of before. When I hear the name, I think of a woman who inspired so many with her story. Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey in 1954. At six years old, Winfrey was sent North to join her mother and two half-brothers in a Milwaukee ghetto. When Oprah was nine she was raped by her nineteen-year-old cousin who was baby-sitting her. This would not be the only time she was sexually abused, she would then be sexually abused by her cousin, a family friend, her mother’s boyfriend, and her uncle during her stay in Milwaukee. Throughout these incidents, she did not tell anyone about what happened as her predators made her keep quiet. When she was older, Oprah Winfrey moved to Chicago, in January 1984 with little money in her pockets, she took over as an anchor on A.M. Chicago. A.M. Chicago was a morning talk show that was consistently lowest in the ratings.

I think the traumatic incidents that she experienced earlier in her life pushed her to fight for women’s rights and got the victims to speak up about their experiences. In one of her latest acceptance speech during the Golden Globes Awards, she says “I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue”. She was speaking about the trending #metoo movement that encouraged women to speak up about their sexual abuse predators.

Oprah Winfrey inspires me because she started with nothing and is now one of the most successful and influential people in the world. She came from a family with a poor background and suffered through years of abuse and neglect. Most people would have just given up, but Oprah Winfrey persevered and aimed high. She worked so hard and now she has her own talk show that remains the highest-rated talk show in American television history. She has even won many awards, like Emmys and The Best Talk Show award. She has taught me that it does not matter where I come from, as long as I work hard and be resilient, I can be successful.

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Ashley Tung

3 Truth

References:

http://www.notablebiographies.com/We-Z/Winfrey-Oprah.

html#ixzz55keb6vXwhttp://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001856/bio

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/01/golden-globes-2018-oprah-winfrey-cecil-b-demille-acceptance-speech

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Hacks for the school year

School Hacks 1

The shrill screeching of your alarm jolts you awake, and you unwillingly throw on your uniform as you mentally prepare yourself for another semester of endless stress. You wish for the first day of school to be one of catching up with friends and meeting new teachers. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want, and instead you are presented with five new projects, eight new academic chapters you understand nothing of, and eyebags so sunken they could have been imprinted into your face.

School has often gotten the better of us, making our physical and mental well-beings twin disasters. Here are some life hacks that you may find useful to pull through this hectic semester (and year).

  1. It is proven to be easier to remember things you have written in blue ink rather than black ink.
  2. Trying to memorise something? Writing it out is 7 times more effective than reading it again and again, but saying it out is the most effective.
  3. Studying the notes the same day you take your examination gives you a 60% higher chance of remembering the content.
  4. Setting your timetable as your phone’s home screen background helps you remember it more clearly. Never forget to wear your PE attire again!
  5. If you don’t want to be called on, writing something or drinking water greatly reduces your chances.
  6. Put your essays into Google Translate to pick out spelling or grammatical errors.
  7. The command ‘ctrl-shift-t’ will reopen a closed tab on Google Chrome.
  8. If you’re giving a presentation and forget what you say, drink some water and gather your thoughts.
  9. Don’t be afraid to speak up: in class, to make new friends, or to talk to teachers.
  10.  Use two notebooks: one for class, and one to consolidate and organise your class notes.

 

These hacks are not foolproof, but there is a possibility that they can help you make your school life more productive. However, do take note not to overwork yourself, and let yourself take breaks and allow yourself some space to fail. Grades are important, but they are not the be all and end all.

All the best for the school year of 2018!

Chua Wei Ting (4P)

Sources:

https://instagram.com/happypositives

https://twitter.com/cravingshay/status/894983734155513857?lang=en

https://twitter.com/Franchescadlc/status/871039958735368192

 

Self Love Hacks

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(photo by myself)

“one breath ends, and another begins. just as this moment ends, and another begins, following an endless cycle of beginnings and endings, endings and beginnings.”

~lavendaire

To what end do we live our lives? If we only pause for a moment and listen to the quieter sounds of our inner world, what would we hear? The fast-paced momentum of this modern day society has undeniably silenced our inner voices, which are gradually diminishing as time passes. It is time for us to live out the ideals of our lives and create memories as we immortalise each and every single one of them into our deepest archives along this perpetual journey of discovery. It is time for us to dedicate ourselves with more self-love and appreciation.

Instead of the typical daily lifestyle habits that we have become perpetually immune to, why not elevate life to more adventures and experiences and start basking in the beauty that novelty brings about.

Here are some life hacks towards a more fruitful and healthier lifestyle.

Start a fresh new day with a healthy breakfast to rejuvenate yourself. Rise and shine earlier than you have ever before, and prepare an avocado toast with cashew nuts, raisins and chia seeds to fill your tummy!

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(photo by myself)

Sashimi salad with baked baby potatoes

Indulge in healthy workouts at exotic places such as Xiao Guilin @ Bukit Batok for a great deal of novelty. Let the serenity and tranquility of nature bring peace to your soul in this ever-beating modern civilisation.

Self Love 4

Keeping a gratitude journal to reflect on the little blessings at the end of each day

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(photo by lavendaire)

I genuinely hope that you will have a familiar conviction that life begins all over again upon every single dawn

Written By: Sarah Tok, 4 Truth

Owning and Hacking Your Life

I’m sure everyone is busy with their own lives, having to struggle through the morning traffic, queuing for canteen food and trying not to splurge so that they can save up on their money to buy tickets for various events. Here are some life hacks to make your life a little easier.

  1. Have Fun Without Spending

People often say, “You get what you paid for.” How about you get something for free? What if it was a fun experience? That’s right, you can have fun without paying for anything! Go to the various museums situated around Singapore, hang out and chill in the parks, or even sign up with DBS for its Sailing at the Bay program- all for FREE! Maybe then, you’ll be able to attend that anime festival or K-pop concert that you saved for without compromising your own “Me Time”.1

2.Personal Homework Helpers

Students have tough lives. They have so much homework to do and so little time to do things that they want. However, there are some programs to make the work less tedious and more comprehensive for students to understand. For example, there is an app called Photomath which will help you with your needs in solving algebraic equations and quadratic functions. This will certainly reduce the time being stuck with one question, where the app will offer explanations for the various steps taken to solve the question. Another app is Snapask, where dedicated tutors will help to answer any queries that you might have about a certain subject. Although some may say that phones are a distraction to homework, these apps help prove that when used in the right manner, phones can become an asset to finishing work on time.

3.Public Transport Guides

Do you remember being late for appointments with your friend and family? Have you been late to school before? For those taking public transport, you’re in luck! Apps such as SG BusLeh, Citymapper and MyTransport help you to plan your travelling routes so that you wouldn’t have to suffer that groan of annoyance when you arrive. Planning your time well is important, so do remember to check out these apps to ensure you will not be late! After all, saving some time on travel will be an optimal way to spend more time on what you love doing the most

4.What about food?

Food is pretty much a pastime of Singaporeans. We love food, but it is always such a hassle to stand in long queues to get into a restaurant. What we really need is Chope, an app that allows you to make reservations at restaurants. They also include an overview of the restaurant, menus and reviews, making sure that the quality of food you pick is good and up to standard. However, what if we have no time to even go out for dinner? No worries, as food delivery services such as foodpanda and Deliveroo can come to your rescue. These services are great for people who are unable to leave their office to get their meals but still want to savour delicious food to perk up.

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All in all, Singaporeans live hectic lives and these little hacks of convenience can really help to save time and money for those who need it, eventually helping them to improve their quality of life. So head on out with these nifty tools and you’ll find yourself having an easier time than before.

Yeo Hui Min Mandy

3 Wisdom

Sources: http://www.thefinder.com.sg/singapore-expat-life/living-singapore/5-time-saving-life-hacks-everyone-living-singapore-should-know

http://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/best-public-transport-apps-singapore-bus-train-route-planner/

http://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/life-hacks-in-singapore-10-time-money-and-sanity-saving-tips-no-one-knows-but-everyone-needs/

No money for lunch? No problem!

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Feeling hungry but have an empty wallet? If you’re in Jinbōchō, Tokyo, then consider yourself lucky! Head to Mirai Shokudo, a restaurant which allows you to choose between paying or working 50 minutes for your meal.

Mirai Shokudo, meaning “Future Eatery”, was opened by Ms Sekai Kobayashi in 2015. She aimed to create “a place where everyone is welcome and everyone fits in”. There are no staff other than Ms Kobayashi herself, and the restaurant seats 12 around a small counter. Her customers can either pay for their meal (the daily lunch special is 900 yen — SGD10.50), or help out at the restaurant for just 50 minutes by doing tasks like serving other customers or cleaning tables.

“Instead, we offer meals in return for 50 minutes of labour at the restaurant. I use this system because I want to connect with hungry people who otherwise couldn’t eat at restaurants because they don’t have money.” Ms Kobayashi says, when asked about her unique scheme. Moreover, those who have offered their labour but do not wish to eat there will receive a coupon for a free meal which they can deposit at the restaurant’s entrance for others to use.

Since the opening of her restaurant, over 500 people, including university students, have opted to work for their meal, in order to save money. Ms Kobayashi’s former teacher, who is now 56 years old, frequently helps out at the restaurant. She commented, “It’s an exciting job because I work with a new person every time. It’s interesting to develop a good rapport and work with others.”

I think that this is actually a very good idea as it can help many people, especially teenagers who are studying and have no jobs yet. Working 50 minutes to get a free meal can not only help them save money, but also allow them to gain experience working with other people, which will be useful for them in the future.

Jing Rung (4F)

Sources:

http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/work-50-minutes-for-meal-at-tokyo-eatery

https://mymodernmet.com/mirai-shokudo-tokyo-restaurant/

https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/blog/work-for-your-washoku-lunch-at-jinbochos-mirai-shokudo-112415

http://www.odditycentral.com/travel/japanese-ex-programmer-opens-open-source-restaurant-where-patrons-can-work-for-their-food.html

Current Affairs: Fake news

Fake News 1

The world fears the threat of terrorism, but there is another threat we face. Something considerably less tangible, but equally powerful.

On March 18, 2015, a picture of the Prime Minister’s website announcing the passing of Lee Kuan Yew went viral, causing international news agencies to report it as news.

States Times Review claimed that there was a near zero turnout at former President S. R. Nathan’s funeral, and that kindergarten children were forced to attend, suggesting that he was an unpopular president.

These are examples of some fake news you might have heard going around, and might even have believed. Fake news runs rampant in the world, instilling unease in some, fear in others and a general uncertainty of what to believe.

Thankfully, Singapore’s government is taking steps to fight fake news, one example being working with schools to promote media literacy, to teach children and students how to discern between real news and fake news. Mr Shanmugam also recently announced that a committee of 10 Members of Parliament will be formed to deal with the problem. The S.U.R.E campaign by NLB is also another initiative launched to address the issue.

I believe that Singaporeans should not get overly complacent and should remember that anyone can fall for fake news. We should all play a part in the fight against fake news, by verifying information and content of any news we intend to share with those around us. It also helps to learn how to identify fake news to reduce the chance of being duped.

Going by NLB’s 4-step method to identify fake news, the first step we should take is to look at the source’s origins to make sure it is credible and reliable. Next, we should understand the content and check that the information is fact-based, and not opinion-based. Then, more research should be done, and the information should be compared with other sources before coming to a conclusion. Finally, evaluation of the issue should be done fairly, after comparing different angles of the story. Although this might seem like a rather easy thing to do, it is very easy to simply hit the ‘Share’ button as a reflex after coming across some alarming news. I hope that more Singaporeans will step up and play their part in verifying and refraining from sharing fake news.

April

4 Justice

Sources:

http://www.theindependent.sg/what-singapore-is-doing-to-combat-fake-news/

http://www.nlb.gov.sg/sure/sure-campaign/

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/student-who-posted-fake-pmo-announcement-on-mr-lee-kuan-yews-death-given-stern-warning

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/government-to-review-laws-to-tackle-fake-news-some-instances-of-fake-news

 

 

The Chinese New Year Dog Circus Controversy

ERFER

The recent celebration of the Lunar New Year welcomes the brand new year of the dog. We have seen Lo Hei dishes designed into a dog’s face, pineapple tarts made to look like a cute puppy’s head, but the most infamous celebratory event of all would be “the first and only dog circus from China” – the Chinese New Year Dog Circus.

The circus sparked off a controversy the day it started ticket sales last December. A petition was started by a Singaporean, Ms Summer Ong, who actively opposed to the idea of this circus taking place as she felt it promoted animal cruelty. One act that was supposed to be showcased was of poodles juggling circus props and performing acts such as ring stunts, acrobatics and many more. Ms Ong felt that such acts were “severely archaic, cruel and unethical”, and she expressed her deep disappointment towards Sistic and Resorts World Sentosa for allowing such shows to be put up in Singapore when they should be promoting an animal-friendly society. Her petition garnered a total of 7236 signatures in the short span of a day. Needless to say, this episode started debates between netizens on whether such performances were considered abuse, with the majority supporting Ms Ong’s stand. In response to this unexpected backlash, organizers stopped ticket sales and cancelled the show.

I feel that Ms Ong’s point on how animal cruelty should not be tolerated stands true. However, I feel that it is important for us to consider and understand the context as to whether the animals were brutally forced to perform as well. The topic of ethics brought up in this news highlights how there are always two different point of views, none of which are wrong. If the dogs are well-fed, does this mean that the dogs have been tortured because they are involved in the performances? Thus, I believe that all in all, it is best to leave animals alone in their natural habitats. This would not only prevent such controversies from surfacing in the future, but it will most importantly, show our basic respect to another living being.

References:

Renee Ong

4 Unity

Nifty Things You Could Use for Home

Make life your easier with these 8 things you didn’t think you needed – but surprise, you do!

1) You can roll up your clothes into bundles when packing for travel.

Rolling up your outfits, as compared to folding them up into neat (or not) rectangles saves space and leaves more room for the truly important things to pack. That is to say, highly unhealthy, highly delicious snacks.

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2) Improve your Wi-Fi signal with a soda can.

Hack an old, rinsed soda can and slide it over the little rod that sticks over everyone’s modems – and that no one ever knows the name of. Do it like so:

Household 2

3) Crack open a… soda bottle with your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook’s power brick.

This is not applicable to me, an avid Samsung user, but hey, so iPhones are useful for something after all! This handy hack will probably come in more useful when you’re older and actually legal. In the meantime, share this with your parents. They’ll never struggle with opening beer bottles again.

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4) Catch those stray USB cords before they slither away and get lost behind your desks using binder clips.

Gone are the days of struggle, losing stray wires below the murky depths of your desk, finding wires after what seems like eons – dust laden and sneeze-inducing. Now, fret not! Find that lost (Samsung) phone charger with ease.

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5) Perfectly separate an egg yolk from the white without splattering egg everywhere.

You only need a plastic bottle to make this work, and its simple too. Just point to the egg and squeeze, and your naked yellow yolk will get swooped up into the bottle.

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6) Dirty sponge? Clean it in 30 seconds.

Sponges can pick up a lot of bacteria, especially if they’re left in the sink. And they have such small pores, any dirt which lodges inside and stays for seemingly forever. But wait — surprise! Cleaning sponges are easy. Popping it in the microwave for 30 seconds removes any bacteria.

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7) Burnt your pan while cooking eggs? Get those stains off with vinegar, water and baking soda.

Fill the pan with water and then add a cup of white vinegar. Bring it to a boil, take it off the stove and then add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Let it sit for a few seconds so it can cool and then wipe the mixture out of the pan!

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8) Do you have sadly stinky feet? Un-stinking sneakers is now easier than ever before.

Being blessedly adolescent, body odour is a thing now. The dreaded stinky-foot has never been worse. Sprinkle some baking soda in the shoes to keep them smelling fresh, and then when you’re ready to wear them again, just tap it out outside. Wow, how amazing.

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Sources:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/genius-household-hacks-youll-wish-youd-thoug?utm_term=.grBZGzey2#.lpGnBGDW0

https://homesthetics.net/58-new-smart-and-creative-hacks-for-household-items/

Done by:

Chloe Wong 4P

Places to Go: China’s Guizhou Province

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What is the first image that forms in your mind when I mention about China? Do you think of Beijing, the bustling city that holds all the gems of China – ranging from the Peking roasted duck, to the historical landmarks such as the Great Wall? Do you think about Shanghai, China’s mark of a technologically-advanced nation? Last November, I had the opportunity to tour five cities in China among which included Beijing and Shanghai. However, I felt that the lesser-known cities also make up an essential part of the country. This city it is not as bustling as Beijing or Shanghai

The essential factor that makes Guizhou stand out among the other cities is the people, as well as the culture and heritage that they have kept alive for so many years. Guizhou is home to one of the 56 minority ethnic groups in China – the Miaos. Once you take the first step into the Miao Village, you will not be able to take your eyes off the colourful skirts the locals wear as well as the crisp tinkling sounds produced by their silver accessories. The intriguing culture of the Miaos do not end there – their singing and dancing performance was the breathtaking highlight of our visit to the village. My favourite part of the performance was watching the older generation of the Miao clan sing a folk tale in their language. Their language is, unfortunately, currently vulnerable to extinction as there is no written record of it. The people can only depend on these folk tales to pass it on. While I could not understand the language, I could feel the meaning in their song as their voices melded together and soared through the silence of the beautiful landscape that surrounded us. It was definitely a one-of-a-kind surreal experience and exposure to the people’s way of life – after all, these sights and sounds are things we cannot watch through YouTube, and even if we could, immersing ourselves in this cultural haven would still give us a different and richer understanding of the place.

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Apart from unique cultural sights and people of different backgrounds, the best places to visit should have good food to satisfy our ever-hungry stomachs! Guizhou’s food is known for being sour and spicy, but there are sweeter ingredients incorporated in their food too. This ranges from the freshest pumpkin to the sweetest potatoes. Of course, it also does not exclude the bitter yet sweet rice wine, which made our taste buds tingle the first time we tried it. The ten days we spent there was not long enough for us to try all the delicious cultural delicacies but if you ever have an opportunity to visit, I would strongly encourage you to go for, perhaps, a longer period of time and take your time to savour all the good food Guizhou has to offer you.

In a nutshell, if you are having a headache considering where you can go for your next holiday, why not book a plane ticket and head for Guizhou? I assure you that a trip there will take you to a different world that you might never have known existed, and truly see a part of the various vibrant colours that make up China. It would certainly be a place worthy of your money and it will be an eye-opening venture into the country as it was for me.

Renee Ong (4 Unity)

 

Mother’s embrace

Mother's embrace

A warm hand covers the forehead,

Bare and pale.

A warm smile

Lightens up the room

And speaks more than words can express,

The love for a helpless lamb .

 

The kid learns to walk,

Held afloat by the invisible strings of patience

And the helping hands of anticipation.

But as life takes its turn,

The teenager walks away from the hand that

Fed it.

 

The Mother still awaits,

Anticipating his return though the signs point to

“Maybe not”,

Like his replies every reunion invitation.

“I’ve got my own kids now,”

He said as an excuse (with hope of understanding).

 

And the Mother does understand,

Without a shred of complaint,

She lets her son carry on on his

Journey of life.

For she realised that you don’t learn to walk

Just to stay in the same place.

 

And when the son realised he needed

To feel his Mother’s warm embrace

Once again,

His mother’s arms were already open

Wide,

waiting.

 

Jaime Ng (3 Truth)

http ://meganneforbes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Mothers-Embrace-L1.jpg