oBike to leave Singapore


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 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





Opinions on the Winter Olympics

Opinions on the Winter Olympics.png

If you have been keeping up with the recent Pyeongchang Olympics, you might have seen a headline or two saying “The Unified Hockey Team Is A Starting Place” or “Will joint ice hockey team warm up frosty Korea relations?”. So what’ the big deal? Why is the media so focused on the topic of North and South Korea having a unified ice hockey team?

Well, unless you have been living under a rock for the past few centuries you would have heard of South Korea’s rocky relationship with the North, or the North with the rest of the world, excluding China and Russia. Tensions between the North and the South have escalated in recent months as Donald Trump, president of the United States, a long-time ally of the South, continues to provoke North Korea in his  twitter posts and speeches.

However, the two nations shocked the world when it was announced that the North and South would come together to form Korea’s unified women’s Olympic hockey team. This unified women’s ice hockey team will compete as ‘Korea’, represented by the Korean unification flag with the anthem being the song ‘Arirang’.

For decades, the Olympics have avoided politics, wanting to keep the games focused on the sport rather than current affairs. But this year’s women’s ice hockey team from Korea, assembled with the hope of promoting peace among neighbours technically still at war is definitely screaming “politics”. Some South Koreans believe that having a united team in such a significant international sports event might help to heal the relationship between the North and the South but many are sceptical that a single sport will do much or leave a lasting impact on the relationship between the two countries.

Personally I, too, have doubts that this temporary team would do much to aid the divide between the two nations as the tensions between the two countries date way back and is heavily influenced by the politics of their allies, most prominently China and the United States. Unity is not something that can be produced simply by representing the same flag, wearing the same uniform, singing the anthem, but even so it is an undeniable fact that I, and probably the rest of the world, will be keeping an eye on the unified team each time they enter the rink, bearing the weight of the heaviest symbol of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Ang Yen Chi

3 Unity

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.


4 Justice




If you’re different, you’re not one of us

Have you watched the lesser known movie,Lion King 2, before? It depicts the growth of Simba’s daughter Kiara and how she fell in love with an outsider or outcast, Kovu. The lions were separated into two different pacts. Those who lived outside the ‘pride lands’ were considered banished and unclean, segregated from the other lions. Even though they were essentially the same species with the same needs, they were cast away because they were ‘different’.

I find that this mirrors our society today. As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather stick together”. People tend to form groups according to similarities, shunning those who do not fit in. The ‘cliques’ in schools, the working groups in offices, interest groups and more all reflect the shared sentiment of  “If you don’t like what we like, don’t do what we do, don’t think how we think then you can’t stay”. This thought is scary and can even escalate to fights or riots as shown in the fight between political parties in the USA (after the 2016 US Presidential elections), incited by anger over not having it ‘their way’. What is wrong is that people cannot seem to accept that people who are different are still essentially people. They have the same needs like food and water, maybe even the same wants from the latest iPhone to true love. Just because their opinions or likes are not exactly a replica of yours does not mean they do not deserve the same amount of respect as a human being.

So what can we do? We can start learning to accept others for their differences. Just to be clear, acceptance is different from providing support. Acceptance can be used even during disagreements and does not depend on preference. Providing support, on the other hand, includes being in favour of the other person’s opinions and promoting it. What I’m calling for all of us to do is to inculcate a sense of acceptance: be it from other people’s cultures, opinions and preferences to their way of living and behaving. This way, we can build strong bonds with others without making either party feel discriminated against due to not being the same. We can approach the lonely classmate who sits by herself for recess and include her, even though she is from a different country. We can befriend the person who we had a debate with before, even though he thinks differently in a certain aspect. We can stop shunning people who are different just because they are. We can start learning to accept that others are different and that it shouldn’t affect how we treat them. Be kind, spread love.


Lion King

Jaime Ng

2 Loyalty

Preservation of Singapore’s Historical Sites


Under the guise of land shortage and the rising demand for developments to fulfil the needs of a growing population, many historical landmarks around Singapore that are reminiscent of our shared local heritage have been swept aside ruthlessly to make way for new projects that will continually urbanise our garden city. Yet, the last of these monuments that signify the era that has long passed are not spared a thought for in this crazed pursuit of modernisation. Admittedly, Singapore has to continue developing its scarce lands to flourish and maintain its much admired global status as a highly liveable city in this competitive 21st century.However, it pains me to see how historically significant places in Singapore are disregarded despite their rich heritage, and realising that I cannot prevent the demolitions.


For instance, Rochor Centre, an iconic rainbow-coloured HDB estate, was slated to be demolished in September 2016 to make way for the 21.5 km long North-South Expressway. Residents bid a heartfelt farewell around the end of last year to the estate they have lived in for most of their lives and closely identified with. Uniquely constructed, Rochor Centre has a common courtyard-like space right in the middle of the centre that is towered by a few housing blocks, which has allowed residents to interact freely with one another over the years and forge a strong sense of camaraderie and kampong spirit amongst their neighbours. Being one of the oldest public housing estates in the city district, it is no surprise that old coffee shops and shops selling pots, pans, plates and other knick-knacks are located on the first storey to serve the residents’ needs.


Rochor Centre is merely one of Singapore’s vanishing spaces – one more crushed building block that had melded Singapore’s identity, and one more rip in the fabric of our history. Others like the Old National Library, with its distinct brick-red British infrastructure, the Van Cleef Aquarium and the National Theatre have been demolished eons ago, and the lack of sentimentality the younger generation who have never heard of these places possess only demonstrates clearly how the demolition has almost entirely erased them from our shared memories. Nonetheless, conservation efforts have been made by the government, albeit only in certain cases, specifically the Capitol Building and Cathay Cinema. They may not have been wholly preserved, but at least relics of some semblance has been left behind in remembrance of their historical quality, and for these little mercies, I am hopeful that all hope is not lost.

Chloe Kho (3T)


The more one learns dialect words, the less space there is for Mandarin words or English words, or multiplication tables or formulas in mathematics, physics or chemistry.”

– (Speech on ‘Mandarin must replace dialects as the mother tongue’ on 25 October 1981, by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce 1991)


Do any of you know how to speak dialect? Even if you do, do you know how to speak them fluently? The founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew discouraged the usage of dialects as he felt that learning dialects would minimize the space in the brain to learn English, Chinese and Mathematics. After the “Speak Good Mandarin” campaign, his point was brought across, and the usage of dialects decreased rapidly. Although many parents do know how to speak dialect, they hardly use it in front of their children.


There is a huge variety of dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka and so on. Although Mr Lee Kuan Yew discouraged Singaporeans from speaking dialects, I feel that learning dialect has its benefits. For instance, learning dialects can patch up the ever growing communication gap between the young and the elderly. The older generation of Singapore grew up speaking dialect, some of them do not know how to speak English. This creates frustration between the 2 generations for they are not able to understand each other. In some situations, the confusion will lead to misunderstandings, creating tensed relationships between a grandparent and grandchild. If only we knew how to speak dialect, wouldn’t it be great to hold an actual conversation with your loved one? I believe that learning how to speak dialect will strengthen family bonds.


Dialects arrived in the early days of Singapore when the settlers arrived on our island’s shores to make a living. It is imprinted deep into our history and when a person recalls the past with its constant usage of dialect, they feel a sense of belonging. It would be a shame for such an important part of our history should go extinct. Without dialects, we probably wouldn’t have the Singapore that we have today. I feel that dialects are imprinted deep into our history and we shouldn’t let something so significant go missing. It would be as though a part of Singapore died.


Even though I agree that we shouldn’t let dialects die out, I am not saying that we should make learning dialects part of our main curriculum. For those who truly want to learn dialects, I feel that the Ministry of Education should provide an additional course for it. It would be an optional course that is similar to learning 3rd languages.


With so many dialects, I feel that it would be an interesting to learn them with their rich history and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with mastering it. Surprisingly, it is not the elderly who are trying to bring back dialects, but the younger generation. They object to letting this colourful part of our history dying out and have started taking the initiative to bring them back. Some create online tutorial videos on learning the language while others try to communicate with their grandparents in dialects as much as they can.


Although dialects are on the brink of extinction, I am sure that we can bring them back with enough effort. Dialects should stay and we should not let any campaigns or opinions take them away from us.

Rachel Goh



The Death of Dialects in Singapore



Prada. Chanel. Louis Vuitton. These are the high-ends brands that kids and adults yearn to own. We live in a society obsessed with branded goods and it never seems to be satisfied with what it has and all it wants are things, things and more things.


My friend came up to me recently, showing me a new pair of sunglasses that she convinced her mum to buy for her because her old ones ‘didn’t look good anymore’ and the first thing she said was “Guess how much they are?”. Does it even matter?


Materialism is a rising concern that the world can never find a solution to. People are getting more inclined to a materialistic lifestyle and are focusing more on achieving a better lifestyle in monetary terms. Our materialistic lifestyle is the result of us, mankind seeking to satisfy our desires and finding happiness in obtaining items of our desires.


Here are 3 reasons why our modern society is materialistic:

  1. Fitting in

The urge to fit in is especially prevalent among teenagers. Not only is it among teenagers, it is also a sad reality across all age groups. These people feel the need to be accepted in a social circle and this surfaces in the need of being appropriately dressed in the office and in the form of peer pressure in college.

    2) Uniqueness

If we purchase a non-branded bag, chances are we are going to see a dozen others carrying the same bag, then that bag is no longer in a sense ‘unique’ anymore. However, on the other hand, if we purchase a branded bag, odds are that it is one of the few pieces in the market. Therefore, purchasing high-ends brands ensures consumers exclusivity and rarity so the need to be different from others is one of the reason why we cluster towards branded goods.

   3) Social status

Today, in our society, we are often judged by what we wear or what we use, and this defines our social status. Wearing a dress from a well-known fashion designer or donning an eye-catching million dollar diamond necklace, put us in the limelight. As shallow as it sounds, it is unfortunately true. Wearing famous brands speaks of affluence and high social status, hence, this is another reason why people flock towards branded goods.


We are taught through media that the only way to be happy is to make a lot of money, travel the world and having the best and newest clothes and accessories. At first, money and wealth do bring happiness but this joy does not last forever. I strongly believe that the next evolutionary step that man should take, should not be a physical change in appearance, but rather a mental change in our egos so that we will move past materials and towards being appreciative of what we have.


Ming Ting


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)


Opinions on Society : The Influence of KPOP

In a world where music makes a huge impact in our lives, from the friends we make to even our personal beliefs, the rapid spread of the Korean Pop culture, not only nationally but globally, plays a big part in everyone’s lives. Almost everyone knows about Kpop and more or less listens to Kpop music like the greatest hit Gangnam Style that took the world by storm, and this ironically stirs up the debate of the influence Kpop brings about to society – the good and the bad.

To say that Kpop is a bad influence is not a fair statement, but it applies aptly to fans who are overly addicted and engrossed beyond the music. Even to the little things like the idols’ personal life – which entirely defeats the true purpose of Kpop music, such that their lives revolve only around the kpop idols’.  This may lead to Kpop being a huge distraction especially for students who leads to dire consequences academically. This is exactly why Kpop has been deemed to be a ‘taboo’ for most parents. As mentioned earlier, these days, fans are no longer in the culture of Kpop just purely for the music but much more beyond that – they idolise the bands so much so that huge amounts of money are involved, on buying idol merchandise like posters, photocards to name a few. , not forgetting the fact that the prices of Kpop albums and concerts are increasingly high these days due to the growing popularity of the Kpop culture. Having money involved is certainly one of the negative influences Kpop has brought about.

As a fan of Kpop myself, I do feel that Kpop does bring about a positive impact on its listeners . Firstly, Kpop music is really powerful in the sense that the genre of music can range from ballad to rock, depending on individual singers/bands This is exactly one of the reasons I feel is commendable. Almost everyone can appreciate Kpop music regardless of preference as there is always a suitable type of everyone. Secondly, besides the idols’ good looks and physique, fans learn about the difficulties and challenges the idols’ face behind all the fame and fortune. Being a Kpop idol in Korea is no easy feat – it takes years of training without even knowing whether there is even a chance of debut. Besides, competition is tight in the Kpop music industry globally with many rookie groups struggling to make their name. Hence, being able to understand what’s going on behind every idols’ path to success allows fans to adopt a positive mindset and the virtue of perseverance and holding on to their dreams. I also feel that through Kpop, people are able to experience and explore a different culture and a whole new set of beliefs. Kpop has also played a big part in broadening one’s horizons in the sense that we are able to make new friends through a similar taste in music – Kpop in this case and adopting a larger social circle.

Rachael Fong




What is feminism? According to Google, it is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Today, there are many feminists out there who are determined to promote equal opportunities for women in education and employment. Feminist movements are campaigning for women’s right such as right to work, equal wage as men, right to vote and to have maternity leave. Feminists also worked to protect girls and women from rape and sexual harassment.

It is a clear biological fact that men are born with a stronger build than women however, women should not be deemed as ‘weak’ and ‘incapable’ because of that. Feminists do not strive to become men. Being equal does not mean being identical. Both men and women should be given equal rights despite inherent differences.

Many celebrities are not afraid to call themselves feminists. One such example would be Beyonce. She wrote an entire essay on gender equality after the Shriver Report found that 42 million women in the United States are either living in poverty or are on the brink of living in poverty. “Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”

Personally, I find that feminism is relevant to today’s context because it limits a person’s life. If today, women in some parts of the world can wear what they want, can earn a living, can go out of their houses, have the right to vote, are not treated like properties of men, then it is thanks to the feminists out there who thought it was worthwhile to raise the voices of women and represent women and fight for a cause that they believe strongly in. Feminism has established and achieved many goals as of today and most of the things on the female agenda have been accepted as national legal requirements and some even as international human rights.

Women and men should be treated equally in every aspect. Women are in no way inferior to men.

Ming Ting