What it means to be a VSCO Girl

Image result for vsco girl

Oversized t-shirts. Scrunchies. Hydro Flask water bottles. These are just a few ‘must-have’ items for a VSCO girl. VSCO girls are taking social media platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok, by storm. What exactly is this trend about?

The name is derived from photo-editing app VSCO, which allows users to filter their photos before posting them on social media. VSCO girls, who are usually aged 10 to 18, have a distinctive look with very specific accessories. They often turn to brands Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville for their clothes, and only carry bags from Fjallraven Kanken. 

An integral part of the VSCO girl lifestyle is being environmentally conscious, which explains why most of them carry metal straws. VSCO girls even have their own lingo, such as “and I oop” and “sksksk”, both phrases are used to express surprise or excitement.

The VSCO girl trend is all teenagers can talk about these days. However, the internet has used its quirkiness as a target for mockery. Anne Milou, who is a VSCO girl, feels sad that they are teased for using certain products, like the metal straw. She believes that this is not ‘annoying’, as netizens seem to think but an amazing way to save the environment.

The term ‘VSCO girl’ piqued my curiosity when I first heard about it. Although I am not one myself, I can understand why teenage girls are such a big fan of this trend. However, we must remember that our online image is not everything. We should feel free to express ourselves in other ways and not simply follow a trend to gain popularity.

References:

https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/viral/scrunchies-saving-turtles-vsco-girls-are-newest-teen-lifestyle-trend-n1041956

https://www.thecut.com/2019/09/what-is-a-vsco-girl-anyway.html

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/9924872/vsco-girl-trend-latest-instagram/

Tan Ting Xuan

1 Unity

Trends in literature

The landscape of literature is constantly evolving and changing. From social issues to the discovery of new platforms, literature has always found a way to adapt to its time period.

The year was 1847. Jane Eyre had just been released. A few years ago, Little Women was published and before that, Pride and Prejudice. What did all these books have in common? All of them focus on independent, plucky heroines.

In the 1800s, authors like Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and the Brontë sisters created heroines who are still recognised today: the sprightly Elizabeth Bennet, the plucky Jo March and the courageous Jane Eyre.  These characters were written on the cusp of the feminist movement – the first women’s rights gathering was held just a year after Jane Eyre was released. These books introduced a new type of female characters-ones who are not meek and diminutive, but rather, have their own opinions and a tendency to voice them. 

Today, trends like twitter novels have taken over the publishing world. With the advent of social media, succinctness has been more greatly prized than in past generations. Twitter has a word limit of 240 characters, which brought to light a new genre of reading. Novels are released as installments of tweets, which can be released over weeks or months.  Social media has also given rise to six-word novels, for example, “Brought roses home. Keys didn’t fit.” which was written by someone under the handle “shallowblue”. 

Besides social media novels, the Young Adult genre is also subjected to trends. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of dystopian books, one notable example being Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games. A common theme in these books would be a nation suppressed under an oppressive regime, the world running out of natural resources, and other such apocalyptic plots. These books reflect the tension-filled times of today, where global warming and terrorists are on everyone’s minds. 

In addition, with the creation of new streaming platforms that make media available in a way never experienced before, an increasing number of books have been adapted for the screen in the form of movies or even TV series by companies like Netflix. Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ is soon to be released as a movie and her novel ‘Sanditon’ was made into a television series. Many Young Adult books, such as ‘Divergent’, also have movie companions. These undoubtedly add a new layer to reading, perhaps enticing non-readers to pick up a book after they have watched the movie. 

In conclusion, literature is highly subject to the ebb and flow of trends, influenced both by the ever-evolving english language and the issues of that decade. It is this very quality that defines literature as a mirror to society and makes reading such an enjoyable experience.

Ashley Sia

3 Unity

Why trends do not deserve a wholly negative image

Image result for me too movement"
The word ‘trends’ can bring forth a variety of reactions. Teenagers, giggling, might throw out words like “Tide Pod challenge” or “ water bucket challenge”. Frowning parents will probably pontificate about the dangers of social media and trends. A banker may tell you about economic trends and patterns. However, there is another way to look at trends. Trends have the ability to change the world’s political landscape and push for change to create a better future.

  Imagine you have a time machine. Now, put yourself a hundred years back in time. You will most probably be horrified at what you see – sexism and racism running rampant. Asians are known as Orientals. Women do not have the right to vote. Rosa Parks is still an unknown name. What caused all the drastic changes that we see in today’s society, you might ask? The answer: trends. 

  The Women’s Rights movement started as a trend. So did the Civil Rights movements. Indeed, most of the positive change we have seen over the decades can be attributed to trends. Rallying citizens is the most effective way to change mindsets and achieve goals. Humanity has known this since the beginning of time. One could even argue that Caesar’s assassination was the result of a trend. Perhaps in the 21st century, it would be called the “Stab Caesar Challenge.”

  Trends of this variety can still be seen today – perhaps even more than ever with the advent of social media. International borders are no longer an obstacle. Trends of the global variety are happening more and more. For example, the famed “Me Too’ campaign, where countless women across the world came forth to share their stories of sexual assault, from those living in third world countries to A-list celebrities. This made waves and headlines everywhere and was seen as women reclaiming their own story. No doubt this has made an imprint in many young girls’ minds. 

  Trends can also help to save the world. The “No Straws” trend has quickly spread and even prompted the manufacturing of the more environmentally friendly metal straws.  Through the power of social media, this trend became so widespread that even huge corporations such as McDonald’s and Starbucks started to make changes. The effects seen are humongous and cannot be denied.
In conclusion, trends are a powerful tool that enables us to make positive changes for the future and create a society that values equality, environmental awareness and other values that are necessary in this day and age. Trends do not deserve their wholly negative image, and we should start looking at this word through a different lens.

 

Ashley Sia

2 Purity

 

Minecraft

Check out your trending section in the gaming category of youtube. Well what is most of the content on it? Fortnite, a game which used to dominate the trending pages, even dance steps from the game’s characters which were circulating around the world, has been replaced. Now Minecraft takes over the once glorious spot Fortnite used to hold.

Minecraft is a game which allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat. Multiple game modes that change gameplay are available like a survival mode, in which players must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, and a creative mode, where players have unlimited resources to build with. Minecraft used to be selling like hot cakes in 2013 and sales were skyrocketing. Yet, it faced a decline and slowly the hype for it went down as people moved on to other games. So why a game which lost its popularity then is now gaining back their ‘gaming phenomenon’ title in 2019, with Minecraft videos garnering millions of views?

These are some reasons why people think minecraft is skyrocketing again.

Firstly, many say that it is because it is the game’s 10th birthday. Players who stopped playing then decide to join back as a wave of nostalgia hit them. And this marks the beginning of minecraft’s road to relevance when people start hitting search engines, downloading the game and talking about it again. Secondly, a very pivotal factor that contributes to this huge popularity is publicity. Famous gamers who have a large following on Youtube like  Pewdiepie start to play Minecraft on a regular basis, which hit #1 on Youtube gaming trending page.  Many YouTubers and Twitch streamers start playing Minecraft, which in the end creates more hype. There are even events held like keemstar with Minecraft Monday etc. In conclusion, this hype contributes to a cycle. The more Minecraft is acknowledged by influential people and events, the more people hear about the game, the more people then try out the game. The cycle is then perennial and more hype is created. Other factors agreed by many are the recent updates surrounding Minecraft. Features which gamers screamed for are now included, like Aquatic Update and the Village and Pillage Update. Besides, a popular Skyblock is released which pushes much fresh air into the Minecraft community.

With the dramatic rise of Minecraft, it is certainly a gaming trend now. Personally, I do not have any disapproval of the rise of this trend. This gaming trend has allowed for more players to interact and form friendship bonds, and also provides entertainment for many. Although I do not play the game myself, I know of many of my friends who have jumped on this bandwagon. I hope that this gaming trend can continue as it is truly creative but players should also learn to curb their usage. As a viewer of these minecraft videos, I wish the game will continue to allow creative options.

Reference :

https://www.dexerto.com/fortnite/stats-minecraft-overtaking-fortnite-battle-royale-popularity-721662

Lynn Tan

3Justice

 

Trends: selfie

Social media has given rise to a strange sensation called the selfie. A selfie is a picture taken of yourself by yourself. These pictures can be easily taken with the front-facing cameras on smartphones and are often posted on social media. Although everyone with a smartphone is able to take a selfie, the younger generation seems to be especially immersed in this trend.

People take selfies as a way of expressing themselves and to build their own self images. Many people take selfies for themselves as a way of boosting their confidence in their appearances. On the other hand, some may do it to get attention from as many people as possible. People enjoy getting noticed on social media and gathering likes and gaining followers is an easy way to fish for compliments and boost their own ego. However, selfies become a serious issue when more and more people are attempting to take dangerous selfies in order to gain popularity.

Selfies become dangerous and life-threatening when people are, quite literally, dying to take them. In Russia, 2015, there have been a handful of selfie-related fatalities, including the death of two men in the Ural Mountains who posed for a photo while pulling the pin from a hand grenade. Likewise, Canadian Tom Ryaboi took a picture with his feet dangling from a Toronto skyscraper with the camera looking straight down into the streets. Unsurprisingly, his photos inspired others to try and do the same as well. As these dangerous shots become more popular, more people feel pressured to attempt to take them too. This has resulted in a rise in selfie deaths as shown in a study done in 2018.

As the trends become more popular, the death toll gets higher. I hope that more people will be more aware of the dangers of risking their lives to take their selfies. Although taking these life threatening selfies are a way of gaining popularity, there are other safer alternatives and I wholeheartedly wish that people will pursue them instead. Nonetheless, many people will still continue it due to their tendency to gravitate towards daredevil stunts and the thrill that such perilous acts can provide them with, despite the obvious dangers of hopping on board of this trend.

https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-selfie-3485946

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34466322

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/most-dangerous-selfies-bear-volcano-grand-canyon-gun-christ-the-redeemer-a7678901.html

Gabrielle Sim

3 Hope

Last Ten Minutes of Recess

When you find a table, you are happy.  You are so happy that after searching for untold ages you have finally found somewhere to sit.  But you are also sad.  This is because you see many horrible things on the table.  Yellow noodles curl like rats’ tails beside brown puddles of milo mixed with the cold drippy water from melted ice and rice grains dot the plastic surface rubbing shoulders with drops of dark red chilli.  In the corner, an errant plastic bag flutters, weighed down by an unpleasant piece of half-finished sandwich lolling indolently in its own grease.  Dismayed, you look about you, and you see once again to your upset that the canteen is as full as it was a minute ago.  You turn back to the display of spilled food before you, and then at the benches beside, which are the only ones unoccupied in this crowded, noisy jungle with the atmosphere of a riot and you sigh.  You sigh because your bowl of noodles- your beautiful bowl of noodles, which you had purchased for a dollar and twenty cents- have to be eaten in ten minutes.  It pains you to do such injustice to such a gorgeous bowl of noodles (which obviously deserves so much more care and attention), and even more so to sit at such an unsavoury table, but as well as time and tide Biology lesson also waits for no man.

So you sit down (happy, at least, to do so at last), avoid placing your elbow in the milo spill, and begin to eat.

 

Tang Sze Kay – 3L

The National Library Board book controversy

The National Library Board’s (NLB) decision to remove three children’s titles that did not promote the traditional notions of family has sparked controversy. A #FreeMyLibrary social media campaign and at least two petitions have been launched in opposition to the move.
The books removed are “And Tango Makes Three”, “The White Swan Express: A Story about Adoption” and “Who is in my Family?” .
The move has generated quite a bit of buzz and the members of the public had mixed views about the decision. “I think that (the books) should be pulled out, because it’s not the kind of values which we want to impart to our future generation,” said one. Another felt that “if the books are needed somehow for education purposes, I think can put a caution there, something like PG16.”
Some others have decided to make their views known in other ways. Novelist and playwright Ovidia Yu announced her resignation from the Singapore Writers’ Festival Steering Committee, citing programme partner NLB as the reason. A group of writers have also decided to boycott a panel discussion they were supposed to have at the National Library.
Not only that, but three judges of this year’s Singapore Literature Prize have also resigned in protest over the NLB’s move. In a statement, Mr T Sasitharan, head of the Intercultural Theatre Institute, author Romen Bose and Yale-NUS professor Robin Hemley “condemned in the strongest terms” the decision to remove and destroy the books.
Some netizens have organised a reading event, where copies of “And Tango Makes Three” and “Who’s in My Family?” were made available for sharing.
Despite the protest, there was also an online letter supporting the NLB’s decision. It garnered more than 25,000 signatures, before the call for signatures ended at 12 midnight. The organisers, who are behind a Facebook group called Singaporeans United for Family, said it was sending the letter to ministers from the Ministry of Communications and Information, Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education.
The withdrawal of the three titles has been the subject of controversy in the past few weeks, drawing both protest and support from the public. A poll by REACH found that those who have been following the debate had divided opinions, with 45% supporting NLB’s move, 28% disagreeing, and 23% staying neutral. The poll also found out that 52% of Singaporeans agree that books promoting values that are not in line with traditional family values should not be made available in the children’s section of public libraries. Of the remainder, 21% disagreed and 23% were neutral.
Members of Parliament (MPs) have called on the NLB to put in place a more transparent and robust review process for its books.
“A more transparent review process would not only stand up better to scrutiny, but allow it to “defend (its) position”, said MP Baey Yam Keng, deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications and Information.
Mr Baey also suggested having a steering committee to advise the library on acquiring materials for its collection. This could be made up of people from a diverse section of society, such as experts from libraries in other countries, parents and book enthusiasts.
Nominated MP Janice Koh agreed that a broad panel of assessors should review requests to withdraw books and the decisions should be made transparent to the public. She said the NLB’s “hasty” decision-making was “perplexing” and added that she was “concerned that NLB has chosen to listen to complaints from a small group of people … while ignoring others, including many parents, who want the right to choose.”
The NLB has since announced that it will reinstate two of the withdrawn children’s titles in the adult’s section.
Sources:
1) http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/many-unaware-of-nlb-s/1270984.html
2) http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-literature/1266672.html
3) http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/other-titles-withdrawn/1266242.html

-Germaine Lee (1T)

2048 the hit game

Does the number seem familiar to you? It’s the latest popular game that hit the top charts in the Samsung and Apple app store!
This game is about joining the same numbers together, on a 4 by 4 game board. The numbers include certain even square numbers like 2, 4, 8, 16, the numbers double themselves and go on. When you reach “2048” you officially win. That’s how the game’s name came about.
Just after a week of 2048’s debut, I spotted people playing the game everywhere. In school, in shopping malls, on buses and trains. Some even with their eyes totally fixated on the screen like walking zombies.
News spread quickly, and that was how I found out about that game.
Why is the game so interesting? Well, it simple to understand, with only colour shades like yellow, orange and white so the screen is not hectic like some other games. This entertaining game offers you a relaxing getaway into a world of numbers and strategy. Free of charge, with clear graphics, downloadable, usable without internet connection, 2048 engages you and occupies your time. What a great chance to challenge and beat your friends! And showing off your personal high scores on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram!
A classmate of mine even managed to make it to 4096. Amazing!!
For those new to this game, you will find yourself getting addicted quickly.
For those getting tired playing it, did you know there are many imitations of the game online? Using colours, images and words instead of the same number tiles. Fans of Taylor Swift and Exo should seriously try playing with the celebrities’ faces.
A website on Google Chrome even enables you to create your own 2048 version with your own pictures and letters.
A simple game 2048 has turned out to be a great hit, probably the most popular game in the year, sparking inspiration in gaming individuals. Another similar game, Isotopic 256 has been created, who knows how many more will be too………

-Genevieve Sim(1P)

Bath and Body Works

BBWfreshsparklingsnow

Bath and Body Works, is a favourite fragrance destination for everyone. The Bath and Body Works PocketBac hand sanitizer is now a recent growing trend. In fact, some of us (including myself) are also guilty of lugging back bags of Bath & Body Works products home every time we come back from the United States.
The PocketBac hand santizer, is, as you can tell from the name, pocket-sized. It is useful and sweet-smelling as well. It can be used before and after eating and also after playing with pets and toys to cleanse your hands.

I, too, got influenced by a friend and begged my father, who was on a business trip in the United States, to buy me two bottles of each type at the store there as Bath and Body Works outlet had yet to open in Singapore. Also, it is cheaper to buy it in America compared to buying it in Singapore as one bottle in America costs half the price.

There are also other popular products at Bath and Body Works, they also sell body lotions, body wash and shower gel, scented candles, wallflowers and many more. For now, you can buy Bath and Body Works products online if you would like any, but, when the new Bath and Body Works outlet opens at Marina Bay Sands, people from all over Singapore will be flocking over to buy it there instead.
The outlet that’s planning to open at Marina Bay is 3,000 square feet will carry a huge range of products from hand and body care, to perfumes and home fragrance collections.
However, let us hope that, although the location of the outlet is at Marina Bay Sands, the items will not be overpriced in Singapore. If it is overpriced, I think I might as well order online or just buy some more when I travel to America or when my father is on a business trip again.

Laura Zheng~1L