Taeyeon

taeyeon

Personally, I am not a kpop fan. Yet I know of the struggles kpop idols have: the pressure of being good looking, fit and fitting the social standards of the society. And I came to like Taeyeon, a kpop idol who deals with depression.

1) Her voice

She is consistent forward placement in the A4~D5 range, constant resonance in the A4~C5/C#5 range, occasional resonance up to D5 and forward masked placed sound in the chest voice. Most importantly, she has a stable pitch majority of the time for live shows, which is something hard for most kpop idols due to the strenuous dance moves.

2) Her personality.

During fan events and services, she can make ugly derp face but her reactions are yet so cute. She is always there for her fans, and despite having large number of fans during airport meetups, she tries her best to attend to each and every one of them.

3) Her laughter

Wow, her laughter sure is contagious. Many kpop idols try to cover up their laugh, but not her. She lets her laugh out and she doesn’t care who hears her. It’s so loud and something you wouldn’t have thought could come out of her, as such brightening up the entire variety show set.

4) Her relationship with her group members

Despite having her own set of problems to deal with, Taeyeon has a good relationship with every single member. You can tell that she loves them and they love her. She cares very deeply about them, and she is always worried about them. She wants to be a good leader for them and she does that by doing things with them. She also gives support by promoting her group member’s solo work.

5) Her bravery

She has difficulties with her weight with constant weight fluctuation, busy schedules (sleep and eating routines can be disrupted) and have been criticized for their bodies before (Tiffany, Yuri, etc.). However, in many of her interviews and Instagram post, she positively seeks a social support network and reach out to people like her. She also channel her misery into song lyrics to feel better. And despite her handling many scandals, she always try to spread positive messages and does what she can to deal with the depression she has and being strong for others who are in need of emotional support. There was one time fans inappropriately groped and molested Girls’ Generation Taeyeon during her visit to the Indonesian airport. Someone who faces such a situation will have an emotional turmoil yet the first thing she did was to apologise to the fans who were waiting and ensured that no one gets hurt. It takes a great deal of courage to look out for others when she herself was hurt too.

 

Lynn Tan

2 faith

Reference: https://aminoapps.com/c/k-pop/page/blog/why-i-love-taeyeon/02Ik_ujb8x52rNQmrVD57V7wmmLY3Q

 

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oBike to leave Singapore

obike.png

As students, and as commuters, I am sure we are all familiar with the bike sharing services that started in Singapore last year, and might have heard of bike sharing company oBike’s recent decision to stop operating in Singapore. But what prompted this?

oBike, a homegrown firm that only started two years ago, had managed to spread its roots to various countries in Asia, such as South Korea, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, and has garnered more than a million users in Singapore alone.

But following new regulations imposed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA)- in which operators are required to apply for a license, restriction of fleet size, as well as remove any illegally parked bicycles in a given time frame, and installing a QR code geofencing technology that continuously charge users who do not park their bikes in designated areas- oBike has decided to stop bike sharing in Singapore starting from June 25, “as a result of difficulties forseen to be experienced to fulfill the new requirements and guidelines”. This exit follows the same decision made in Melbourne, Australia due to similar regulations.

In a meeting with LTA, oBike had pledged to refund users their initial deposits, and clean up the bicycles on the streets by a given deadline- but failed to do so. It later revealed that it had gone into liquidation, owing $6.3 million to user, and with bikes still strewn in various estates well after the deadline.

Users have taken to various platforms to demand for their refund, with Consumers Association of Singapore receiving more than a thousand complaints, and a petition on change.org accumulating more than four thousand signatures for oBike to refund their users. According to Channel NewsAsia, LTA will also step in to remove the bicycles and impose a fee on oBike should they not take any action.

This decision to leave Singapore has brought many inconveniences to local users, from fighting for their refund, to transitioning to a new platform or app. I think that oBike should have taken the responsibility to take action to help alleviate these troubles and done what they should have instead of relying on LTA to remove their bikes and leaving their users without their refund. As a company, especially one with roots in so many countries, their relationship with their millions of users- who have chosen oBike as their go-to, even with the increasing competition in the bike-sharing industry- should be built on a foundation of trust for the company to efficiently clear their bikes out of Singapore and clearly convey their plans concerning local users, as well as respect for the rights of the users to have their money refunded back to them. The irresponsibility shown by the company could set a bad example for those hoping to start their own companies.

Chen Yu Yang

3T

Sources: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/business/article/2153151/singapores-obike-gets-its-bike-proof-you-can-kill-your-innovators

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/startups/obike-to-stop-bike-sharing-in-singapore-due-to-new-regulations-viability-issues

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/obike-lta-deeply-disappointed-will-impose-fees-clear-bicycles-10496326

 

Marbles

marble

Tiny glass spheres

Each with a small burst

Of vivid colour

I see my whole life

Reflected in these miniature globes

As a child

Flicking them across the hot sand

Claiming them from other children

With raucous laughter and shouts of ‘I’m the winner!’

As a teen

Coming across them when I cleaned out my room

Rolling them absentmindedly in my palm

And thinking of simpler times

As an adult

Older, but not any wiser

Watching my children play with them

As I once did

And now, as an old man

Staring at them on the wooden table

Each one seems like an insurmountable task

Slowly I raise my trembling fingers

Fumble, and drop them to the floor

Where they clatter with a mournful sound

This poem is about someone who suffered a stroke and has to pick up marbles as part of his physical therapy. He ends up musing about the different roles marbles have played in his life

Ashley Sia

1 Purity

Novena Church (Church of St Alphonsus)

Rachel church thing

If you ask a Catholic where the Church of St Alphonsus is, they would probably stumble over their words and the answer you would ultimately get would be a confused shrug of the shoulders. However, both Catholics and Non-Catholics know the existence of Novena Church. The Church of St Alphonsus, more famously known as Novena Church, is located at 300 Thomson Road next to the shopping mall Velocity @ Novena Square. It is maintained by the Redemptorist community in Singapore, a group of people dedicated to preaching the Good News of the Lord to the abandoned.

Novena Church is usually empty, with the exception of a handful of people. However, it gets crowded during mass times, it gets even more crowded during its weekly Saturday ‘Novena’ devotion services, where at least 25,000 people consisting of both Catholics and Non-Catholics gather. In fact, it got so popular that the church had to close a few years back in order to expand as its original structure from the 1950s was having difficulty withstanding the large crowd that gathered for the Saturday ‘Novena’ sessions. It reopened in late 2017 and has attracted even more people with its beautiful architecture. A ‘Novena’ is a series of prayers said 9 consecutive times with the hope that your petition will be answered by God.

A ‘Novena’ is a series of prayers said 9 consecutive times, or more usually over 9 consecutive days in the hope that your petition will be answered by God. The ‘Novena’ devotion sessions are held in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who is also known as the mother of Jesus, Mother Mary. The reason why these sessions are so popular is because Novena Church is known as a place where miracles happen and a place where petitions are answered. During these Saturday sessions, as many as 800 petitions and thanksgivings are submitted each week, some of which are read out by the priest. Petitioners usually ask for Mother Mary to intercede their prayers to Jesus.

To interest you further, here are a couple of miracles that have happened at Novena Church. An old lady who was losing her sight went for the ‘Novena’ devotion sessions 9 consecutive times. Although she eventually lost her sight, she continued going for the devotion sessions and he sight was finally restored on her 11th session. Going back to a 1990s, a mother and her daughter went for the ‘Novena’ devotion sessions to pray for the daughter’s PSLE. As they were walking into the church, the mother saw the statue of Mother Mary blink at her. Her daughter ended up being one of the top students in the country.

Even if you aren’t a Catholic, you are still welcome to visit the church simply for its beauty. The peace and tranquility of the place makes it the ideal place for one to live in the moment, rest, or bawl your eyes out. While you are at it, feel free to drop by the bookshop and get a souvenir!

Address: 300 Thomson Road, 307653

Rachel Goh

S3 Wisdom

 

References:

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

https://catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=329&lang=en

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/novena-church-reopens-sept-29-with-new-gothic-inspired-look-and-more-space-for-worshippers

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/drone-footage-captures-newly-reconstructed-novena-church-9246372

 

Where to go in Penang for Instagrammable photos

When visiting Penang, many may just look forward to the delectable local cuisine and the cheap souvenirs. But do you know that Penang has plenty of Instagram-worthy places to visit to spice up your Instagram game? Below are some recommended places to visit in Penang for some Instagrammable sights!

1.Love Lane

Love Lane, or Lorong Cinta, is a long alley situated in the heart of George Town. The trail features dozens of wall art by local artists that set the vibe of the overall area–hipster and funky.

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There is no official explanation behind Love Lane’s name and the locals have differing explanations for it. Some believe that it was named after a British officer, named Love, who stayed there during the British colonial period while others think that it was the site of 19th century brothels for sailors and soldiers, thus the name, Love Lane.

2.The Blue Mansion

Located down the road from Love Lane, The Blue Mansion, also known as Cheong Fatt Tze Blue Mansion, is a UNESCO Conservation and Heritage award winning tourist attraction. With its beautifully vibrant blue walls that simply cannot be missed, many visitors the Blue Mansion which was constructed before the end of the 19th Century–even if they do not stay in the hotel.

There are guided mansion tours daily which will provide one with further insight into the story behind the architecture and history of George Town’s first heritage hotel.

penang 8.png3.Hin Bus Depot

An abandoned bus depot of the past, Hin Bus Depot has now evolved to become an inclusive, full-fledged art space with a cafe. Located a stone’s throw away from George Town, Hin Bus Depot was established just four years ago in 2014. The vintage space often holds exhibitions and street art by local and international artists as well as parties, festivals and fashion events.

 

penang 6

The space is like a canvas for young emerging artists from local and around the world with different cultures and backgrounds to share and learn together.

4.Armenian Street

Armenian Street, named after the nation-state of Armenia, was originally part of a Malay settlement but the subsequent influx of Armenians and Chinese helped to shape the street’s colourful and multicultural character.

 

Aside from the colourful murals, Armenian Street also boasts beautiful lanterns that light up at night, giving off a 60s feel as you stroll alongside the traditional shophouses. A bonus would definitely be the flea market with stores selling a range of items from handmade accessories to street food unique to Penang such as Ice Kachang Ball and Penang Lok Lok.

penang 11

Hopefully on your next trip to Penang you can head down to the above locations and check out some of the mentioned locations and snap some insta-worthy shots!

Ang Yen Chi

3 Unity

 

Photo credits:

http://www.penang-traveltips.com/love-lane.htmhttp://crispoflife.blogspot.com/2018/01/love-lane-food-trail.htmlhttps://www.anepiceducation.com/things-to-do-in-penang-blue-mansion-peranakan-mansion/https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Attraction_Review-g298303-d10067528-Reviews-Hin_Bus_Depot-George_https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Attraction_Review-g298303-d10821538-Reviews-George_Town_Heritage_Walks-George_Town_Penang_Island_Penang.htmlhttps://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Attraction_Review-g298303-d8407240-Reviews-Armenian_Street-George_Town_Penang_Island_Penang.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Hawking- Bright Spark On Wheels

stephen hawking.png

Stephen Hawking was at a young age of only 21 years when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that was predicted to take his life in just two years. Recently, he had been focusing on a subject he held dear to his heart- Physics. However, after the tragic news, completing his doctorate was what some may reckon to be ‘undeniably improbable’.

Despite the devastating setback, Stephen paved his road to success through bravery, determination, perseverance, hard work and faith. Eventually, his efforts paid off and his hope did not end in vain, when he finally attained his long-awaited Ph.D. Notwithstanding Stephen’s victory and defiance of odds, his problems did not end there. The deadly disease continued to spread throughout Stephen’s body, weakening him and, in 1985, even robbing him of his ability to speak. Following the loss of his verbal communication ability, Cambridge created a speech-generating device which enabled him to substitute his voice with an electronic one.

Stephen Hawking proceeded to continue attending Cambridge following his successful graduation, and assisted in complex research. Stephen Hawking was even initiated into the Royal Society, an international fellowship of scientists, and deemed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. Regardless of Stephen’s recent passing, his ‘Black Hole Theory’, one of his most famous hypotheses, remains incredibly helpful to cosmologists’ research and studies. Moreover, Stephen has written numerous great reads, one of which inspired the release of a film inspired from his life of ups and downs.

In my opinion, Stephen Hawking is an excellent inspiration for the disabled with bursting dreams, and I’m sure a vast majority would agree with me. Stephen Hawking is a motivation for the young and old. He has encouraged, and even proved how an ailment, no matter how severe or life-threatening, should never be the barrier between one and their ambitions. Despite Stephen’s recent passing, his legacy will continue to be the flame leading generations through darkness, empowering the public to believe in themselves and endure obstacles.

Valerie Tan

1 Grace

 

Reference:

https://www.space.com/15923-stephen-hawking.html

Demons

demons

                                         My friends and classmates, they tell me,

                                         I am fine, I am doing well,

                                        Thinking, without being aware of the big picture,

                                        How on earth can a girl so young have demons?

                                        Not those ghastly devils six-year-olds are afraid of,

                                        But rather, the gruesome demons inside us,

                                        That can actually have the potential to attack.

                                         However, what they have all failed to know,

                                         Is that Anorexia and insecurities,

                                         They are embraced by my demons.

                                         My demons are desperate for them.

                                         The more my demons accept them,

                                         The more my spirit gets devoured.

                                          For my daily ritual, which I have adopted since age ten,

                                          I stretch my small, beady eyes wide open,

                                          So wide, the frustration and anger in me,

                                          Are able to flow like a stream,

                                          Down my chubby cheeks, as called by my demons.

                                          I attempt to squeeze in the “ layer” as tight as I can,

                                          Against my pathetic ribs, crying out to my demons to stop.

                                          However, they will not.

                                          I flinch every time someone offers me food,

                                          I starve until I can bear no more,

                                          Only because I am afraid I might die.

                                          Die, with the demons still celebrating inside my head.

                                          no salt, no carbs and definitely no sugar.

                                          Pathetic.

                                          Run!

                                          Away from the demons?

                                          No.

                                          Run, for three miles every day.

                                          Exhausting? I do not care.

                                          I deserve it anyway.

                                         Sooner than you think, my friends,

                                         The pitiful, ugly and FATigued girl you see,

                                         Will turn into a pile of ash

                                         Of mere dread and anger.

                                          Htoo Myat Noe

                                          1P

 

 

 

Six of Crows Series- Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

‘No mourners, no funerals’

Six of Crows is a fantasy duology, which takes place in a world inspired by the Dutch in the 17th Century. The main city, Ketterdam, also draws its inspiration from Amsterdam. Set in the centre of this bustling hub is infamous thief, Kaz Brekker who is offered a large sum of money to steal a scientist from the Ice Court in a nearby country, Fjerda. This scientist has discovered an addictive drug that enhances the powers of the Grisha, people with magical abilities.

Kaz assembles a team of six outcasts: Inej, Wylan, Nina, Matthias and Jesper. “They may be the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.”

This is one of the most amazing book series I have read. As this is a hybrid between historical fiction and fantasy, it perfectly fits into my favourite genre of books. There are many classic elements of a childhood fairy tale as well as the tension and suspense of an action novel. There are several moments in the book where things may be looking up for the main characters until they are faced with unfortunate situations.

For me, one of the highlights of this series is the characters. Often, when there are so many characters, it is hard to focus on a single one. However, in this duology, every character is developed so well over the two books. I feel like I am taken on an adventurous yet emotional journey with them. Although the book is set in an almost out-of-this-world universe, it is remarkably easy to relate to the 6 characters, as they are young adults as well.

I strongly recommend anyone who loves fantasy and/or adventure to read this fantastic duology. I read this book around 3 years ago and am still in love with the characters.

Rachel Lie

2 Purity

 

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

fullmetal alchemist

The suspense. The action. The characters. All three elements excel in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, an anime series that explores the mysteries of alchemy and it’s characters. Edward Elric, the youngest alchemist to become a state alchemist, seeks to find the philosopher’s stone, an object that he hopes could potentially restore his brother’s original human form. It is found that Alphonse Elric, his brother, had his body lost in a botched human transmutation to revive their mother, with his soul bound to chainmail armour.

 

Meanwhile, “Father”, their enemy, cleanses himself of his seven sins: Gluttony, Pride, Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Envy and Lust. He sought to make himself perfect, but in the process loses his own humanity. The seven sins manifest into his servants, but each of them undergo human development in the process, with all of them having one unified goal to serve their “Father”. However, Greed defects from his creator and joins the Elric brothers in search for power. Together, they work to stop Father from taking over the world through alchemy. In the different arcs of the anime, the Elric brothers and their friends bond together to fight against the different personifications of Father’s Sins, only to realise that the different sins symbolise their own insecurities as well, giving them an opportunity to accept and embrace their own sins in the process.

 

Heart-wrenching scenes in the anime series explores the deep complexities of human nature, from the need to sacrifice lives in order to save their own, to paradoxes where the characters find that the sins are a part of themselves and how they should embrace them. Throughout the anime, viewers find that they can relate to the feelings of the characters, ranging from humiliation from failure to the incessant feeling of desperation. The action scenes in the anime, fitted with the beautiful composition of music truly create a sense of excitement and awe that can only be rivalled by the best movies in the world. Each episode felt like 5 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes: The content that has been packed into each episode satisfies the viewer to no ends- each meaningful hug, each torturous cry, each beaming smile; all of them contribute to the meaning that the anime hopes to bring underlying the surface. The tension between each character and their struggles mimic real life, but they each give us a sense of hope that we could potentially overcome each challenge if we chose to.

 

This anime provides comfort to the general audience; with so many things happening in the world, it is astounding to think that all these elements of humanity can be combined together in a symphony of character development and design. The art styles complement all the action that happens in the movie and I am fairly certain that most people who watch the anime will relate to the characters in a way that no other anime can replicate. I implore you to give this anime a watch, especially if you are a fan of fantasy and action anime. This is one of the few anime that has really been ingrained into my mind, with lessons that you can take away and apply in your life.

 

Yeo Hui Min Mandy

3 Wisdom

Romancing the Nerd

romancing the nerd

“Romancing the Nerd” is a lesser known sequel to the book “The Summer I became a Nerd”.  They are both written by Leah Rae Michelle, an author who usually writes young adult, contemporary romance. And trust me on my word: “Romancing the Nerd” is even more so, or at the least ‘on par’, with the quality of “The Summer I became a Nerd”!

“Romancing the Nerd” is a story from the perspectives of two teenagers. Dan Garrett, a person most would classify as a ‘Nerd’, has become ‘Popular’. From a live-action role playing geek, his sudden growth spurt and insane Basketball skills has brought him from zero to hero. But there’s a catch! This sudden climb of the social ladder may cost him the girl of his dorky dreams! This particular girl is Zelda Pott’s, a tuba player and geeky girl with a unique fashion sense. When Dan decided to leave behind his ‘past life’ of nerd-dom, it was painful enough for Zelda. But he humiliates her in school, leaving Zelda to decide to get back at him in her own, geeky way…

This book was really a great kickstarter for my love for role-playing games! I was first introduced to Dungeons and Dragons in “The Summer I Became a Nerd”, but “Romancing the Nerd” really reminded me of why I loved their role-playing, geeky culture. Zelda is not a conventional female lead. She’s strong and yet feminine, aggressive and still kind. The way the author expressed Zelda’s hurt and happiness resonated with me very much. I couldn’t help but want to be part of her story! Dan is a fantastic multi-dimensional character. His love for dorkiness and desire for popularity is not written off as something cliche, but rather displayed as a relatable and convincing inner conflict. “Romancing the Nerd” is an enjoyable and casual read, perfect for unwinding after a tiring day. Definitely worth recommending!

Jaime Ng

3 Truth

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25664525-romancing-the-nerd