Sick Beats – April 2022 Spring Collection

Written by: Ashley Chean (22-O1), Benedict Keng (22-U3), Cheng Zhi Shan (22-U1), Chloe Tan (22-I6), Darius Chen (22-E4), Eris Kek (22-I6), Rebecca Yap (22-O1), Sophia Chiang (22-O1)

Designed by: Cheng Zhi Shan (22-U1), Darius Chen (22-E4), Eris Kek (22-I6), Rebecca Yap (22-O1), Sophia Chiang (22-O1)


Imagine standing in the bustling streets of Japan, with the cherry blossom trees all around you. They’ve just bloomed, and the light pinks are dripping off their petals as they spiral in the air. Your hand brushes a fallen petal, as you walk down the streets, smelling the sweetness of the flowers in the light passing breeze, watching them fall as you hum to your favourite tunes. What would you be listening to? 

Sick Beats brings you a curated selection of our favourite songs to bring the perfect vibes of spring to your very own room, so that you too can replicate the feeling of spring in Singapore! We bring to you our memories of spring, captured in a couple of tunes to bring you the joy and brightness of spring. 

Beginning with an entrancing violin melody that transports you to a magical world of flowers and light, Flowering (개화) heads the debut single album of the South Korean band Lucy. The lyrics liken winter to a person who has drifted far from the singer, accompanied by the hopes that this person will bring warmth to them again in the form of spring. The bright melody contrasts with the bittersweet lyrics that mention how even if the singer remains alone, they maintain the hope that “it is going to bloom blue”, perhaps hinting that spring will eventually arrive no matter if the season is happy or sad. Despite the tone of the lyrics, the radiant melody with unique instrumentation and soaring vocals is bound to put a spring in your step. I am often left imagining myself running across fields of flowers to the melody of this song. If you close your eyes for just a moment, this song will take you on a journey, allowing you to forget about the present, even if only momentarily.

Coming from famous South Korean indie band Busker Busker, Cherry Blossom Ending (​​벚꽃 엔딩) has an uplifting and infectious melody which captures the feelings of falling cherry blossoms with various acoustic sounds. In the lyrics, the singer reminisces about a time when he was walking hand in hand with his lover on a street filled with cherry blossoms. Just like how spring is the season of love, especially with the flowers and sweet smells all around, this song definitely brings about heart-fluttering memories of being with your family and friends, while enjoying time together during springtime, as it has done for me. With the many stresses of school life, if you are missing the feeling of spending time together with your loved ones, this song is for you. 

Starting off with a fast-paced and light-hearted melody and combined with the singer’s own angelic voice, ‘If I could ride a bike’ could be easily misunderstood as a simple love song tinged with the flowery feel of spring. However, as the song progresses, the tone of the song shifts from one that is rather pleasant to one burdened with solemnity. ‘If I could ride a bike’ talks about the singer’s hope to explore the many beauties of love together with her partner, but such a dream is disrupted by the sad acknowledgement that she “is never able to do [those] things, so [she’s] just left imagining”. While it is not the happiest song, ‘If I could ride a bike’ manages to twist both a simple tune and lyrics into something that is full of emotions and imagery, and strongly deserves a listen. 

“Just know I’m right here hoping that you’ll come in with the rain.” Taylor Swift’s fourth track off her Fearless Platinum Edition will tug at your heartstrings and take you back to a lost feeling of bittersweet separation and longing. This song, paired with a nostalgic tune and artistic composition, will remind you of those fond memories . Come in with the rain speaks of Taylor Swift’s hope that an estranged lover will return without her entreatment, just like how the rain comes in when she leaves her “window open”. Pictures of the rain and cloudy skies will transport you to a spring unlike any other, and will walk you down a journey of both desperation and hope. However, just as spring passes, pain too, will pass. This song will definitely take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, and leave you wanting for more.

The cool, offbeat tones of subside transport the listener to a park bench while they’re sipping a cup of coffee, admiring the view. Subside is from Eloise’s album called This Thing Called Living. The deep blue-green flavours of this song express the longing she feels for someone, reminding one of a calm, peaceful lake, with her harmonies weaving a blanket of comfort around the listener. This song is one of my favourites, with its low-key lofi beats in the background making it perfect for an afternoon of relaxation and wonderment.

Cornelia Street is a song from Taylor Swift’s seventh album, Lover. This song encompasses the bittersweet hues of spring, as she reminisces about her past memories, both the good and the bad. The feeling of dancing on the streets is captured in the upbeat tones of this song, which parallels  the falling leaves of spring. The brightness of this piece brings about personal memories with a tinge of nostalgia to any listener, as it has done for me.

This piece (not song, as classical snobs might correct) is the second instalment of Seycara Orchestra’s series of contemporary orchestral pieces based on the four elements – water, wind, earth and fire. The composer, Yuang Chen, along with the rest of his orchestra manage to perform a piece that reminds one of a spring breeze. The use of the flute helps to characterise the piece as lively and swift, leaping cheekily in passages all while being spurred on by the accompaniment of the strings and harp. Although this might be subjective, I personally like to imagine this piece as a bird soaring over a busy cityscape, watching buildings and people pass in a blur. The lack of lyrics makes this piece an excellent listen while studying and the pace of the song is sure to keep you high-spirited as well. If you ever need a piece to lift your spirits, this piece would surely serve as the wind beneath your wings.

Glitter is the final song from Tyler, the Creator’s 4th Studio album – Flower Boy. The first half of the instrumental consists of  pretty synth leads reminiscent of a relaxing walk in the park, complementing Tyler’s emotional and raw ruminations on falling in love – ‘everytime you come around I feel like glitter’. The track is then divided by a short 5-second electric guitar riff before the beat changes into something much slower-paced and dejected, again corresponding to Tyler’s insecurity- ‘This is one sided, yeah, I can’t lie’. This gives rise to the 2nd chorus anchoring the song together with the repetition of ‘scumf***flowerboy’ and ‘how ya feel’, encapsulating the duality of Tyler as a person as well as the stark contrast between his feelings. Overall, the song is a bittersweet joyride that captures the wistful melancholy of spring.

Released as part of the album Abbey Road, Here Comes The Sun is the most well-known song from The Beatles, with close to 800 million listens on Spotify. Written by George Harrison, the lines “It’s been a long, cold lonely winter” and “Here comes the sun” reflect his relief at the arrival of spring, after having a difficult year. (He had been arrested for marijuana possession and had his tonsils removed.) This song is one of my comfort songs as it serves as a reminder that tough times will pass and “it’s all right”. Should you need constant reassurance that everything will be alright, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ is here for you.

With that, we have come to the end of spring! We hope that you have enjoyed exploring some of our springtime tunes with us and that these songs help you to take some stress off from school life. Hopefully, the different songs were able to invoke your favourite memories of springtime, whether it be cheerful or emotional. We look forward to you guys joining us next month for more feel-good vibes! 

AAA #34

Designed by: Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1)

Question 1: Recently, I find it difficult to juggle between socialising with people that are not from the same class and my school work. Due to the fact that I don’t see them as often as my classmates, I can’t really socialise with them other than CCAs or outside of normal curriculum time. Thus, I find it hard to reject their time or spend time with them while trying to study during non-curriculum time. Please advise.

Hello! We completely understand your worries – it is indeed very difficult to manage the JC workload and your social life. Nonetheless, there are ways to help yourself through this dilemma! 

First of all, it’s a wonderful thing that you make such a great effort to stay in touch with friends outside of your class! Given the already hectic JC schedule, what you’re doing now is a great feat. 

It might be difficult to strike a balance between both friendships and your grades, however, there may be a way to do so. If your friends are similarly concerned about their studies, you could arrange to have a study date, in which you can both revise and enjoy their company! However, this will probably only work if you do not end up getting distracted by each other, which is another challenge of its own.

Seeing how you’re putting so much thought into maintaining your friendships, we’re sure that your friends appreciate your friendship, and would understand your decision. After all, they are fellow struggling students who can empathise with your struggles regarding the workload. 

If you still find it difficult to reject their requests to hang out, you could try finding quiet spaces to study, such as the library or various study spots around the campus. This would create an environment that is more optimal for studying, and would signal to your friends that you are not free at that moment in time. They would then be able to look for you later during your free time, allowing you to maintain your relationships while staying on task!

Aunt Agatha would like to assure you that things will work out; as long as you and your friends are considerate of each other, there will be a time to get together and catch up! 

Question 2: My friend won’t stop filming Tiktoks during lessons and it’s distracting. Help!

Hey there! Thank you for your open sharing. AAA would like to affirm that this is definitely a valid concern and provide some advice that may help you! Don’t worry, Aunt Agatha is here!

Firstly, it is completely understandable that a conducive environment is essential for optimal learning and we sympathise with your struggle. A classroom is a shared space and even a small distraction can be enough to prevent you from concentrating.

At the same time, your friend might not view their actions as distracting or a disturbance to others. They may feel they are just having some casual fun and have not considered the perspective of others who may not feel the same.

In this case, we strongly urge you to communicate with your friend! We believe this is the best long-term solution so as to preserve a harmonious environment in class for everyone involved. Everyone has their right to have a conducive classroom environment to study, so don’t feel bad! Besides, you are benefitting your other classmates too. 

You could try taking them aside and sharing your experience and feelings with them. By explaining your situation to them, they’ll better understand where you’re coming from and know that their actions are causing you distress. Be sure to emphasise that your sharing is not coming from a malicious place, and that you are merely trying to reach an understanding that benefits everyone. 

If you are nervous about the possibility of this intervention being perceived as a one-on-one confrontation, you could find other classmates who feel the same. Together, your friend would be better able to understand the extent of the distraction they might be causing in class and thus stop or minimise their actions.

Since the school campus is very large, you could recommend other non-study places for them to film Tiktoks at instead. (Such as the field, canteen, lift lobby, or cafe!) You could also suggest that they film these Tiktoks during their breaks, and not during lesson time, to avoid distracting other classmates.  

As fun as Tiktok can be, we fully realise that it can also be distracting to those who really wish to focus on their work. Hence, we hope that these tips are helpful to you in maintaining this balance with your friends in school! All the best!

Question 3: How do I deal with FOMO? All my friends are hanging out with each other but I have no time to spend on these social engagements because I have to juggle academic commitments. What should I do?

Hi! Aunt Agatha understands your worries and would like to reassure you that FOMO is a common sentiment amongst JC students. It is perhaps the dream of every student to attain the college triangle of needs that comprises good grades, a good social life, and enough sleep, but to do so would be a Herculean effort. Aunt Agatha can recommend ways to achieve a better balance of all of them!

You can initiate study sessions with your friends to maintain that harmonious balance between a social life and academic commitments, especially if you are someone who is motivated by studying with people! If you are taking similar subject combinations, you can even form a study group and discuss queries together. Additionally, it is never more rewarding than to go for a well deserved meal after an intense study session– and how better to spend this time than eating and chatting with friends? 

However, we understand that you may also prefer studying in solitude or get distracted by friends easily. Not to fret, for an alternative solution would be to maximise your time by engaging in productive studying alone, before asking your friends to join you for breaks.

It is very important to maintain a good study-life balance especially in JC where it is easy to burn out, so find something to motivate yourself– that could be spending break times with friends! While academic commitments may seem like an unrelenting stress factor which never ceases to exist, do remember to take care of your wellbeing and recharge so you can do even better, and spend time with your friends at the same time! Take care!

2022 A Level Results Release

Written by: Aaron Wong Jielun (21-I4), He Jizhao (21-U5), Harel Tan Zunn Yong (21-I2), Jachin Khoo Yangxun (21-U5), Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1), Nigel Ng Ngan Siang (21-A3), Tan Le Kai (21-I4)

Designed by: Rakshita Murugan (21-E1)

A Twosday to Conclude a Two-Year Journey

Photo Credit: Ananya Gupta, EJC Media

As the world celebrated the special palindrome of a date (22/2/2022!), it was an especially significant day for our JC3s who recently graduated! From the perspective of us juniors, our seniors showed spectacular tenacity in this tumultuous and intense run-up to the final examination of their structured education; especially in dealing with school closures due to the Delta variant.

Go sing, too loud

Make your voice break

Sing it out.

As the nostalgic lead-in music played, the graduating JC3s slowly made their way to their classrooms. 

Having listened to this song every morning for the past two years and this being the last time, “It brought back [memories] of the time not too long ago, coming to school with my classmates, and being late for school,” Jacqueline Fong, a graduating JC3, ruminated. 

The feeling of sentimentality is one shared by both teachers and students.

“It is always happy to see students coming back,” Mr Felix Lim, who has been teaching for 20-odd years, commented.

As they gathered in the classrooms for the last time in their CGs, there was a palpable atmosphere of anticipation that just emanated throughout the college. It was heartwarming to see that even after going their separate ways (as visible from the army uniforms sported by some of the guys), they were still able to show their gratitude and support to their teachers and classmates who had been with them every step of the way. This is what truly represents Eunoia!

Photo Credit: Lai Wing hyun, EJC Media

This much-awaited event kicked off with a warm welcome-back address by our new Principal, Mr Andrew Tan, as well as our previous Principal, Mrs Wong. The transition from old to new was truly felt at this moment, as the graduating students awaited to embark on their new journey. Congratulations were given by both Principals, as students listened with growing excitement.

The JC2 Dean of 2021, Mr Ganison, then proceeded to highlight the metaphor of nurturing plants and presented budding seeds of plants to represent growth. Just as Mr Ganison described, the J3s “sowed the seeds, watered them” and are now awarded with the fruits of their labour. Scholarship options were then shared, as many contemplated their next move with the future ahead. 

Mr Ganison then released the overview of class of 2021’s academic performance and commended the JC3s’ efforts in their two-year journey. Applause and cheers could be heard throughout the school, especially as excitement and celebration peaked for some subjects with exceptional results. 

Photo Credit: Ananya Gupta, EJC Media

Shortly after the exciting overview, a sense of suspense rose in every classroom as each JC3 anticipated receiving their results. Some cringed in their seats while waiting; some were murmuring with their friends and some were even giving out soft toys to help their friends deal with the anxiety. As an anonymous male J3 quipped, “It’s sort of funny to see everyone in casual attire, anxious to get their results. I kind of feel the anxiety too, [but] I feel excited to be in this old setting again.”

After an excruciating wait, the moment of truth was finally there. To many, this was a moment of liberation; to others, it was just a stepping stone to their next phase in life. One by one, the graduating students walked up to their teachers and received their results. Regardless of the results, the true ending of their tumultuous A Level journey was finally at hand.

The End Result

Photo Credit: Boo Qian Ning, EJC Media

The weight they held in their hands felt much heavier than mere slips of paper. Some were afraid to open their certificate books, while others flipped them open eagerly. During this time, the atmosphere greatly varied from class to class, and person to person, as everyone processed their results in their own different ways.

There were some who excitedly looked through their results with their friends in big groups, with cheers of joy and shrieks of happiness as the marks were revealed. 

“I want to thank all my classmates for helping me out during the 2 years and my teachers for their (academic) advice. I am ecstatic.” Qing Xiao Peng of 20-I4 was spotted with particular elation which found expression in his joyous leaps.

Other emotions were observed too. Some teared up, with their friends comforting them, to reassure them that it would be OK. Feelings of sadness and disappointment were common as well. Some people also stepped outside to the corridor to have a private space to process their results on their own. Phone calls were made, both to share the momentous news with friends and family, and to seek comfort from loved ones. Tears of both joy and sadness were shed.

The End… and the Beginning

As JC2s ourselves this year, we are all too aware that pretty soon, we will be in the exact same shoes as our seniors. With our own workload and stress piling up, we are all in awe of the courage and determination displayed by our seniors. As Mr Lim nicely sums up: “work hard, look forward, don’t wait till the last minute”.

We want to celebrate the efforts and struggles of everyone that sat for (as well as those who did not get to sit for) the A Levels: those who attained their desired grades, as well as those who did not. Even for the people whose journeys may not have turned out how they expected it to, we believe that all our seniors will forge the best paths for themselves.

As a JC3 (who wished to be anonymous) himself put it, “I think the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Even if you do badly, you have to go forward and take your next step in life.”

On behalf of all the JC2s, we wish our seniors all the best in their years ahead!

Photo Credit: Ananya Gupta, EJC Media

Orientation: Level Up’22!

From the spirited cheering to the mass dances to the cacophonies of laughter, Orientation ‘22 was nothing short of exhilarating. With fun-filled games and the lively atmosphere of Orientation helped to break the ice between the J1s. Many Eunoians would agree that orientation is one of the highlights of their JC experience and it is definitely an indispensable one indeed. 

But behind the success of Orientation ‘22 was an enormous team of almost 200 J2s who worked tremendously hard to make Level Up 2022 such a resounding success. Let us take a trip down memory lane to understand how they made all of these possible! 

Level Zero: Behind-the-scenes

The preparations for Orientation ‘22 started way back in Term 3 of 2021 when the Orientation Exco team was elected. The bulk of the Orientation Team (OT) including orientation group leaders, committee members and station masters came on board in October. 

November and December was filled with countless sessions of workdays, dry runs and game trials as the Orientation team strived to make Orientation ‘22 a blast for the incoming J1s. As Imran, the one of the OICs of Orientation recalled, “A challenging aspect of planning orientation was communication; liaising with the many parties who wanted what’s best for their people, and at the same time balancing the needs of all Eunoians involved in the project.” 

In spite of the numerous workdays the OT had to endure, many of them remarked that they had no regrets being part of this huge project and it was truly an unforgettable experience, with Imran adding that, “Personally, I felt the pressure to make our juniors feel comfortable in our college environment, myself having not the easiest transition into EJC. I’m glad we relied on each other in our little J2 community to overcome these challenges.”

A vital factor of success for this year’s Orientation was the theme, encapsulated by the catchy two-word phrase, “LEVEL UP”. A lot of thought was put into coming up with a theme that resonated with Eunoians, and as Imran commented, “As opposed to choosing a foreign word that might’ve been difficult to catch on, “LEVEL UP” was a quick, catchy and comprehensible phrase [in which] the message of growth embedded in it is a powerful one; that Eunoians may grow in various domains of their lives and thrive in EJC.” The other key component of the theme would be community, a source of strength that Imran has come to cherish by the end of his J1 year, and the overarching message was that “Eunoians don’t need to find our way alone—we have so many people by our side to support us through our growth.”

This sense of community was also reinforced by the novel and eye-catching publicity storyline written by the Publicity Committee. Publicity member Chern Hong who was part of the team who ideated the Orientation storyline remarked, “We remembered what we felt as J1s, and wanted to model our storyline on some challenges that the J1s might face during orientation. We hope that through our storyline, we can encourage the J1s that while the transition into JC may be difficult, they are never alone and there are always Great Protectors and Guides that will be there for them along the way!”

Level One: OG Orientation

At the crack of dawn, a stream of students donning different uniforms began making their way into the gates of Eunoia. These fresh faces of people who would soon call EJ their second home resembled baby birds at that point in time – some lost, some a little frightened in this foreign land, yet all of them were looking in anticipation of what was to come. 

Photo Credit: Ananya Gupta, EJC Media

Similarly, OT members gathered in the Multi-Purpose Hall were brimming with excitement, looking on to these J1s whom they would be taking under their wing for the next 5 days. This is it. The gruelling months of seemingly endless work that they have put in will finally come to fruition.

The first day of events commenced with the icebreaker event ‘Hello Stranger’, where OGs played a series of games and completed challenges with each other. The name of this event was extremely appropriate as this bunch of people who had never met before were required to interact with one another. Inevitably, it was slightly awkward and even uncomfortable for them at the start. Yet, with the OGLs egging them on, facilitating the conversation and making everyone feel more at ease, these OGLings who were once lost became just that bit closer. 

Photo Credit: Long Wen Xi, EJC Media

Over the course of the next few days, OGs were involved in countless games which are the brainchild of the Programmes Committee. Even with the suffocating SMMs in place, they still managed to ideate numerous fun and innovative games that bonded the OGLings together. 

Photo credit: Tiffany Lim, EJC Media

“The most difficult thing as a station master to me is at many times not the management and running of the games per se, but rather managing the safety of the OGlings that are playing the games,” Station Master Ng Jian Rui (21-E1) reflects pensively about his role. “As SMs, it is our job to step in and tell them to pause, spread out and remind them about the SMMs.” 

Although constantly reminding OGlings to maintain SMMs while they are having fun may seem like a wet blanket, the OT still does it because of their sense of leadership that had been honed throughout the preparation of orientation. 

Throughout the days of OG orientation, the bonds of each OG were evidently stronger and stronger. From the light teasing to the heartwarming encouragement they shared with one another, from the countless selfies taken to the bursts of laughter in the canteen during lunch, these OGs have come a long way from being unfamiliar individuals to one big community.

Photo Credit: Chung Hoseung, EJC Media

Level Two: CG Orientation

Even on the final day of Level Up’22, there were new beginnings. Entering school in their new ‘armour’, their white batch shirts, J1s met their fellow classmates for the first time. Despite not knowing each other beforehand, the J1s were quick to break the ice and the environment was louder and livelier than before!

As the final part of the storyline, J1s worked together to defeat El Odium, the main antagonist of Eunopolis.

The highlight of the day was definitely the J1’s induction into their respective houses. When the J1s changed out of their batch shirts into their very own house shirts, the sea of white transformed into a dazzling spectrum of colours, reflecting a poignant moment of J1s growing as one Eunoia while individually embracing their house culture and identity. 

Photo Credit: Ananya Gupta, EJC Media

Adding on to the excitement was the House Walk-Ins and House Commencement events! Across the school, the music and energy was truly unmatched (vibes were immaculate). Everyone was taken away by how the houses embodied and presented their house spirit.

Photo Credit: Lai Wing Hyun, EJC Media

Final Level: Wrap-Up & Reflections 

With the final event taking place, the last dance of the century, and the last time the OT had the chance to gather together for a debrief, Orientation was over. 

Perhaps it was the setting of the sun or the murmurs of goodbyes that evoked emotions of sorrow and relief in many.  

“Looking at the emotions that have been slowly building up through working together for four months finally being laid bare, the bittersweet tears, the laughs, the words of affirmation and promises to never forget each other really made me think [this] was all so worth it,” Jian Rui remarks. 

Besides the OGLings, the OT has also connected with each other on a deeper level, having been one another’s lifeline during orientation.

Photo credit: Claudia Wee, EJC Media

“I envisioned that Programme Comm [would be] like a family where everyone can share their thoughts and visions for [orientation] freely,” Programmes In-Charge Claire Lee (21-U1) reflects. She adds, “I truly think that we are a family that has fun, stresses out and works through any troubles together!” 

Even though orientation should not have been coterminous with a pandemic, the OT managed to surmount all odds and pull off this spectacular event. As Orientation teachers-in-charge Mr Justin Lim and Ms Sandra Chan aptly put it, “They became great role models for the J1s, and have truly ‘levelled up’ as seniors”. Their adaptability, openness as well as perseverance is commendable! 

Without the verve of the OGLings, Orientation could not have succeeded as well. “The road ahead is yours to shape and make the best of.”. These additional words from the teachers-in-charge perfectly sum up the J1s journey through EJ after this orientation. 

Everyone came into orientation unknowing and unsure of what they could expect. It is safe to say that they have all developed individually and came out of Orientation with much, much more. 

Level Up ‘22: Quest complete! 

Spartan Race 2022

Exhilarating. Refreshing. Fulfilling. 

These are the words used to describe this year’s Spartan Race. And indeed, it was all these words and more! After all, the Spartan Race was created to test our physical limits, strengthen our bonds, and allow us to have lots of fun in the process. Akin to the spirit of ancient Spartans from 2500 years ago, our Eunoians were pitted against each other as well as themselves, as each student strove  to do their best to make their house proud. 

An annual tradition, this year’s Spartan Race was no different from the ones organised in previous years. Our J2s were pushed to their maximum capacities as they sprinted, jumped, threw, lifted, and even shimmied to the finish line. What was different, however, was the intensity of the stations from last year. The 17 stations from Spartan’21 were reduced to 15; however, Eunoians were provided with a greater variety of challenges to take part in!

But how did all of this start? Surely the operation of these stations and the organisation process wasn’t a well-oiled machine from the beginning? Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane to catch  a behind-the-scenes picture of one of this year’s most exciting events.

Behind-the-Scenes

The preparation for this level-wide event started way back in August 2021, when the three OICs (Overall-In-Charge) of the Exco Team were elected. Endless planning and dry runs ensued all through November and December, as the Spartan Team strived to create an enjoyable event for all. 

As with any major project, the Spartan Team faced countless challenges along the way. The team constituted ODAC (Outdoor Adventure Club) members as well as Sports Representatives.

Photo credit: Boo Qian Ning 

This was an initial challenge for one of the OICs, Yeo Yi Xuan. “With so many unfamiliar faces taking up the majority of the EXCO team, it definitely took a long time trying to understand the different working styles and personalities of every team member,” the ODAC member and Spartan OIC explained. It was a daunting start, but after some time, the EXCOo were able to work well with one another, and the team found itself conquering setbacks after setbacks.

Photo Credit: Ananya Gupta

Ella Zhang, one of the OICs, recalled their final dry run. Several problems had surfaced only a few days from the actual event, sending her into a panic. “Thinking back at [the challenges that suddenly surfaced], they were definitely a blessing in disguise, as [this] made me work even harder to prepare for the actual event,” she reflected.

D-day

When the long-anticipated day finally came, it did not disappoint. The J2s geared up and donned their house T-shirts, proudly filling the school with their bright colours. Everyone was a bundle of nerves as they prepared to conquer the 12 stations that awaited them. These stations tested a range of skills such as strength, agility, balance and teamwork. 

A notable station was the ‘Featured Obstacle’. Participants had to climb up a wooden block before crawling through and descending from a supporting net. This posed a challenge to many who struggled to face their fear of heights. With the support and encouragement from their peers however, they managed to overcome the daunting obstacle. 

Photo Credit: Long Wen Xi

The ‘Red Light Green Light’ station was also another memorable obstacle. “It was the station where all my group mates had to work together to complete the challenge and it was quite challenging as we were required  to coordinate our movements while having our ankles tied together”, Ishika Suresh, a Spartan participant reflects. Despite the arduous task, her group managed to pass the station as they forged forward together in step. 

The day ended with a livestream of the finale where 2 participants from each class competed in a relay on behalf of their respective houses. These teams even included teachers who bravely volunteered themselves to represent their houses. It was a close call, but it was none other than the house of Uzuri that eventually emerged victorious, with Ora and Isami treading not far behind. These houses not only dominated in the finale, but also emerged as the overall champions of Spartan 2022!

Photo Credit: Vineeta Kundala

Aftermath

In the face of the endless challenges of Spartan’22, many passed the majority of the stations, and are now able to call themselves Spartans. The spirit of Spartan truly shone through on the day itself, as everyone cheered everyone else on, all the while putting their physical stamina and endurance to the test. 

The takeaways from Spartan were especially heart-warming to hear, too. Ong Enyee, who emerged first after clocking the fastest timing for KOH (Girls), reveals that she had not expected to win first place due to her muscle aches from training the previous day. She adds that “I really do have to thank my friends for their continual support and encouragement; they helped me believe that I could do it, and then, along with my own drive, I actually did it!” When interviewed, many participants also revealed that despite their initial wariness and reluctance to put in their absolute best effort for Spartan, they found themselves motivating each other and pushing themselves to do even better during the event itself. 

Even in the face of failure, Eunoians learnt to take things in their stride, and try harder next time. “Despite being disappointed at failing at some stations, I think everyone learnt to let go of their mistakes, and instead focus on picking themselves up and moving forward”, notes Benjamin Lai, one of the finale participants for Ora. 

As this school tradition carries on for future batches of J2s, we hope that it will continue to be as “exhilarating, refreshing and fulfilling” as this year’s, and give everyone the chance to see just how much they are capable of!

Photo Credit: Long Wen Xi

Singapore’s Hawker Gems

Written by: Lian Zhi Qi (21-I1), Tricia Loh Qiuxuan (21-U1), Katelyn Joshy (21-U1), Carissa Aletha Liem (21-I1), Eliora Tan Yuxuan (21-E6), Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1)

Designed by: Katelyn Joshy (21-U1)


Hawker centres are a core part of Singapore’s culture as it contributes greatly to our local food scene with the wide array of dishes offered. If you find yourself always buying the same few dishes, this is the article for you! In this article, we introduce hawkers preparing dishes both traditionally and with a modern twist. Read on to see how you can spice up your next visit to a hawker centre! 

MIN CHIANG KUEH 

What’s better than pancakes for breakfast? No, not the ones from McDonald’s Big Breakfast but the Eastern version, better known as min chiang kueh. These traditional Chinese pancakes are thick and chewy, usually filled with a combination of crushed peanuts and sugar. Most hawker centres sell them and it is definitely a comfort food for all Singaporeans. 

Located in Tanglin Halt Market is the famous Tanglin Halt Original Peanut Pancake run by an elderly couple. This stall has been around since 1965 and for good reason. Every ingredient used is handmade by the owner who even used to roast his own peanuts, hence ensuring all aspects of the pancake are made with care. Such efforts definitely reap great rewards, evident in how their pancakes are sold out by 10AM and how customers are willing to wait before 3.30AM to buy them! Besides the traditional peanut flavour, there are other unique tastes available like black sesame and yam which are both highly raved about within the food community. 

Photo Credits: Team Tam Chiak

All their pancakes are affordably priced with nothing above $1.20, enticing many customers to buy them in batches. With Tanglin Halt Market’s imminent closure, why not head down and try it out? Fastest person first!

The stall providing a modern twist to min chiang kueh and a familiar name on Instagram – Munchi Delights. With a wide array of choices of pancake skin, fillings, shape and size, this stall definitely has something for everybody! 

Photo credits: Munchi Delights

Besides traditional flavours like peanut and red bean, they also provide modern flavours popular among the younger generations like Matcha, Thai Milk Tea and Belgian Chocolate. The different colours of the pancake skin (brown, black, green) coupled with the vivid, bursting colours of the fillings (e.g. orange, green, white) create an Instagram-worthy shot. 

Photo credits: Lian Zhi Qi

For the small eaters, consider getting the Mini Munchi which is just as tasty and looks even cuter. 

Even though it is located in Singapore’s north at Yishun Hawker Centre, it is so raved about that people from across the country travel just to try some of their pancakes.

Having tried them before, we can confidently say that the fillings are generous and pleasantly overflowing! Some flavours are a hit or miss but definitely worth a try. Overall, Munchi Delights is a unique place selling one-of-a-kind pancakes that are affordable and mouth-watering! 

CHINESE ZI CHAR 

Zi char is an important part of our local cuisine and this warm and hearty meal never fails to bring back good memories of sitting around the dinner table, feasting together with our families. The best part? It is highly affordable, making it ideal for all groups of people from all walks of life to have a taste. With family and friends enjoying quality time over delicious cuisine, zi char adds vitality to the humdrum of hawker fare. 

Keng Eng Kee Seafood first started in the 1960s, along Old Havelock Road. Upon the demolition of the former Havelock Road Hawker Centre, the stall moved its operations to Bukit Merah and is now located at Alexandra Village Food Centre. This stall has become a household name for a reason; its mouthwatering dishes have kept the same recipe for decades and their signature dish, the aromatic Coffee Pork Ribs, even landed itself in the 2016 MICHELIN Guide Singapore! It offers a range of dishes at different portions, with prices starting from as low as $5 per plate. One of their must-try dishes is definitely the fried hor fun, which has been part of their menu since the 1960s. 

The hor fun is charred to perfection, with many people raving about the unique and smoky flavour, paired with the umami-ness from the raw egg-yolks the finished dish is topped with. Most of their dishes are delicious, filling and full of strong flavours! 

Is your mouth watering yet? Head down to Alexandra Village Food Centre and call ahead to reserve as it can be tough to get a table during peak dining hours, even with its relatively huge location! 

A stall that has given zi char a modern, yet welcomed twist is Tang Kay Kee Fish Head Bee Hoon, which first opened in 1946 but has been recently rejuvenated in 2018 to give it a modern concept. Fourth-generation hawkers, Debbie, 27; and Kamen, 21, are the brains behind this new concept, serving up modern wok-hei dishes inspired by poke bowls. 

Some of their unique creations include spicy braised pork belly rice and hor fun with sous vide egg, with prices starting from $5. Unsurprisingly, their Asian poke bowls concept has hit it off with the younger crowd, filling a lunch vacuum the business had for decades. 

With their unusual yet classic take on zi char, this stall is surely worthy of multiple visits. Head down to Hong Lim Food Centre to give it a try and with their extensive menu, you will definitely find something to suit your taste buds! 

FOOD ANATOMY @TIMBRE+

As the name suggests, ‘Food Anatomy’ is a hawker stall that’s obsessed with food’s layout! It’s here that design meets culinary, every dish is intricately made, with aesthetics developed more as a graphic design project. It specialises in selling layered blocks of food where customers will choose 3 types of dishes, salads and desserts to mix-and-match and form the ultimate food block combination. Choices range from Cold Soba all the way to Organic Lasagna. 

Photo credits: Team Tam Chiak

This peculiar stall is the brainchild of former employees of the Deli and Daint at Maxwell Food Centre, who believe that; ‘our customers should feast with both their eyes and mouth!’ They sell salads, grains and pastas all day from Monday to Friday and their food block specialty after 5 P.M. The signature dish is also available all day Saturday, priced $16 each.

This one-of-a-kind stall is just one of many in the sprawling Timbre+, a hipster-style urban food park nestled in Ayer Rajah Crescent. 

Photo credits: Seah Kwang Peng

BRAISED DUCK 

All Eunoians seem to know that when strolling into the canteen at 12 P.M, you are bound to be greeted by the trail of students eagerly queuing at our Duck Rice store. We just can’t seem to pinpoint what exactly it is in Braised Duck Rice that makes it so irresistible, but have you ever considered the amount of work that goes into serving the perfect plate of Duck Rice? 

While the world rouses sleepily from slumber at 7 a.m, rows of glistening braised ducks are lined up at Yu Kee’s stalls, awaiting hungry customers (like me and you). As soon as the lights in the stall come on, a queue forms, and by 2pm, the first batch of braised ducks are sold out. The intriguing secret behind their 33 year old recipe lies in their hand-picked herbs, braising liquid and catch this: a mysterious soft drink used to wash the duck’s innards. The Yukee Group takes special care to braise each duck uniquely  according to their weight and size, to achieve the perfect bouncy skin texture. 

But nothing good comes easy, and the story behind this popular store dates back to 1954, where the Yu Kee Group started as a hawker pushcart stall in Nee Soon selling braised duck rice. Third generation owner Eunice Seah recalls the many milestones they have reached, from the shift to air-conditioned food courts in the 90s to surviving the outbreak of the bird flu scare. Perhaps, knowing the Yu Kee Group’s history and the thought that goes behind every bite of the tender duck meat makes Yu Kee’s Duck Rice taste just a tiny bit richer.

Photo Credit: Crisp of Life

Now think Braised Duck Rice, but with a japanese twist. Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap has always been serving classic teochew braised duck for over 30 years. It was only till Melvin, the second-generation hawker, came along, that the brand decided to put a fresh look on classics by coming up with Duck Rice Bento in an attempt to attract youths. 

Photo Credit: Time Out Singapore

I mean, don’t the Duck Rice balls completely change things? The recipe remains the same, and for just $8 a platter, you’re in for a generous portion of yam rice balls, tender braised duck, beancurd, pickled vegetables and the ultimate selling point: Japanese-style runny yolk lava eggs. That’s really worth the price if you ask us.

Whether you prefer having your braised duck the classic way, or are completely sold by Jin Ji Teochew’s Braised Duck Bento, you are bound to find something that suits your taste buds!

WANTON MEE

Wanton Mee [Mandarin: Yun-tun mian, 云吞面] is a Singaporean favourite. To break it down, “wanton” is a Cantonese word for dumpling while noodles in Hokkien is “mee” or in Cantonese, “min”, so “wanton mee” literally means dumpling noodles. Noodles are either served in hot broth, or tossed in delectable savoury sauce, flavourful garlic oil, and served with succulent wantons and slices of pan-cooked Chinese BBQ pork. The dish is found in almost every hawker centre around the island. One such stall is Cho Kee Noodle, which has been serving traditional wanton noodles at Old Airport Road since 1965. It boasts of noodles cooked with premium ingredients, cooked al dente with a nice QQ bite. 

Photo credits: Cho Kee Noodle
Photo credits: Medium

Another mind-blowing modern take on the traditional noodle dish is created by A Noodle Story serving this Singapore-style ramen that incorporates both local ingredients (prawn mee and wanton mee) and Japanese influences using modern European techniques, innovating this wonderful fusion of local and foreign flavours.

Located a walking distance away from Telok Ayer MRT at Amoy Street Food Centre, the stall is nestled in the corner of the hawker centre. 

Photo credits: Liew Yi Xuan

Chinese efforts to regulate its tech giants

Written by: Zuo Yuning (21-A1)

Designed by: Katelyn Joshy (21-U1)

China is known for its regulations on the Internet, especially with the ‘Great Firewall of China’ enforcing strict prohibition of foreign Internet service providers such as Google, Twitter and Facebook.

Relatively, it is much more lenient with its domestic counterparts, allowing them relative freedom in operation.

Recently, however, the Chinese government has hosted a meeting with heads of Chinese tech giants, including Alibaba, Tencent and Bytedance, the owner of Tik-tok.

This came after a speech by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, in which he criticised China’s strict financial regulations for creating a counterproductive business environment.

Coincidentally, Chinese moves mirror those carried out by the European Union and the United States, in their efforts to regulate tech giants. 

The governments do seem to share the same motive: to curtail monopolistic behaviours by dominant corporations to ensure fair competition in the market.

Nevertheless, the purity of the Chinese government’s intention should and have been questioned. Some are worried that it is a continuation of a worrying trend in China where all private firms are facing increasing government scrutiny and regulations, while others see this event as an effort to ensure that it has firm control over its citizens’ online activities and data.

China’s Tech Companies: How Have They Become?

Before we get into the debate, though, let us understand the brief but turbulent history of China’s tech industry and the Chinese internet.

China was behind the world in terms of information technology, since its borders were sealed to foreign ideas and foreign products. Most Chinese didn’t know about computers until the mid-1990s, and most did not own them until the mid-2000s. Mobile phones came even later, which means the giant technological companies that everybody knows about nowadays have really only flourished roughly for a decade.

Much like in Western countries, the rise of the gigantic digital industry has been drastic. In China, the journey of Jack Ma’s Alibaba is very similar to many other companies in the industry – in terms of their rise, but also in terms of their troubles with the central government.

Mr Ma started small. On 28 June 1999, he founded Alibaba.com with 17 friends in his Hangzhou apartment (Alibaba Group, 2020). His business didn’t take off immediately, for it was three years later that Alibaba.com finally made a profit (Business Insider, 2017). He was lucky, as the founding of his company coincided with the Internet boom in China in early 2000s (Yang, 2018).

At that time, it seemed like the Internet would integrate China into the global flow of information, but China soon decided that ‘enough is enough’. Regulations on digital firms started with control over data flow (Qiu, 2000), and then the project called ‘the Great Firewall of China’ was initiated in 1998 (Shen, 2020). By 2012, most major foreign digital services have been banned on China’s internet (Xu & Albert, 2017).

Censorship has certainly been horrible for Western firms and for free speech in China, but it proved to be a tremendous fortune for China’s domestic digital corporations such as Alibaba. With their foreign rivals banned or restricted they faced much less competition, they gained a very large market share and hence their profits rose (Desjardins, 2019). 

Nevertheless, the digital industry, just like other private firms, has always faced strict regulations from entry barriers to financial regulations (Livingston, 2020), and some of them are getting even stricter in recent years (Wei, 2020).

That is part of what Mr Ma talked about in his speech, and apparently the government was somewhat upset with that.

But that antagonism between the state and technology firms is actually very new and unexpected.

In October last year, columnists were making predictions like ‘just as the US starts looking to rein in, or even break up, big technology firms’, referring to the Congress hearings on that issue in July that year (Romm, 2020), ‘China is going in the opposite direction [as] we should expect to see more money, more policy favouritism, and more attention from party cadres aimed at ensuring the establishment of big successful chip and software firms’ (Culpan, 2020).

Well, the truth is the government has indeed been very favourable towards its tech firms, for the latter are often providers of key technologies, services, innovation and lots of jobs in China as much as in other parts of the world (Cavallo, 2016).

However, that attitude seems to have changed, as China has begun tightening regulations on those exact companies (Wei, 2021).

There are many views on why this happened, and on whether it is justified. Let’s go through them.

Regulations and Monopoly: The Economic Analysis

One argument coincides with the official narrative: China cannot let its tech companies become too-big-to-fail.

This understanding chiefly comes from the past experiences of Western nations, when they suffered the impact of having an entire industry dominated by a few big firms.

Monopoly isn’t a modern problem; the problem has plagued nations since the birth of capitalism.

In the history of the United States, famous examples of monopoly firms include Andrew Carnegie’s Steel Company, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company and the American Tobacco Company (The Investopedia Team, 2021).

There’s a less extreme case, though. A market may not be dominated by one firm, but by a few firms. Nonetheless, the economic problems they cause are very similar: over-pricing and underproduction of goods and services (Thoma, 2014), and disincentive to innovate (Marcos, 2018).

As a case study, let us look at the US healthcare market. Undoubtedly that system has delivered too little for too much, for even though it spends the most portion of its GDP on healthcare among all Western industrialised nations (Kamal et al., 2021), it has one of the worst health outcomes, shown especially by how it has the lowest life expectancy in that same group of countries (The Commonwealth Fund, 2020).

The reason is probably market dominance. You see, more and more profit hospitals are applying tactics such as horizontal consolidation, where hospitals choose to merge up, and vertical consolidation, where they hire more physicians than before, to increase their market share (Kocher, 2021).

The insurance industry also suffers a similar problem. In 2019, the top five US health insurance companies own a whopping 45.6% of total market share (Statista Research Department, 2020). In some states and local areas, firms can enjoy monopoly or near-monopoly, and this situation is getting worse in recent years (Dafny et al., 2012).

Market dominance is prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry as well. With government regulations on drug prices virtually non-existent, big drug firms have tremendous power to fix prices to maximise their profits (Hawley, 2021).

All those factors combined, and you have a country where citizens pay the most amounts for a healthcare system that doesn’t exactly work out the best.

Allowing too few firms to dominate the market is to blame. No government should ever trust the firms so much that it allows them to stifle competition and reap profits for themselves.

Some may say that healthcare and the Internet are two systems that cannot be compared to one another, that while the healthcare market may need to be regulated because it is a service crucial to public well-being, the digital, high-tech industry should not be disturbed by the government’s heavy hand.

I disagree with them. I think market dominance is an issue common to many markets, and since it frequently produces undesirable results for the people and for the government, it should be avoided as much as possible. 

Besides, to say that government intervention is necessary in some instances is not to deny all the good work the market has done. We just need to look around us to understand the fortunes of capitalism. 

However, we must not forget that competition is the most important principle that keeps the free market working. If actions by the government can encourage competition, they should be welcomed.

Some may also argue that the so-called ‘undesirable market outcome’ that market dominance can produce may not be significant enough in every instance. The Chinese high-tech industry, for instance, has provided fairly efficient and affordable services (China Academy of Information and Communication Technology, 2020).

To that point, I may need to concede that currently market dominance does not seem to have affected the market outcome, although I think that adverse effects are still very possible in the future. 

However, there is another factor we have yet to consider. When a few firms become too powerful, whatever that happens to them can have tremendous influence over government behaviour because the economic fortunes of individual big firms simply matter too much to the economic performance of a modern nation (Cooch, 2012). That is, dominant firms can become too big to fail. 

Again, let us take a look at the United States. The 2008 financial crisis is the perfect example. After the dot.com bubble burst caused a recession in the late 1990s, the Federal Reserve decreased the federal funds rate in an attempt to boost the economy by encouraging spending and investment (Seabury, 2021).

This prompted many Americans to take huge loans to purchase houses, and many of them even borrow way beyond their ability to repay, in what is termed ‘subprime lending’ (McArthur & Edelman, 2017). Wall Street hedge funds engaged in lots of that, disregarding the significant risk of low-credit loans (Denning, 2011).

In early 2000s, however, the fed interest rates began to rise, hitting many with payments they cannot repay (Amadeo, 2020). What’s worse, as supply started to keep up with demand, housing prices began to fall in 2006 (Barker, 2009). This wiped the wealth of many and forced them into debts, as they struggled to pay back the mortgages.

That prompted a banking crisis in 2007, and then, when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in 2008, the entire global economy was sent down the spiral of recession.

Seeing that the financial system was on the brink of collapse, the newly elected President Obama offered a massive bailout of 700 billion dollars to Wall Street firms (Congressional Research Service, 2020). 

Initially that act was credited with ‘stablising the economy’ and ‘preventing another Great Depression’ (Clark, 2010), referring to the catastrophic global recession from 1929 to early 1930s. Retrospectively, though, more commentators start to say that the bailout was a ‘flawed design’ (National Public Radio, 2008), ‘unnecessary for economic recovery’ (Baker, 2018), and ‘benefited the rich’ (Eisinger, 2020).

The problem doesn’t end there. Wall Street firms are responsible for causing the crisis with their reckless lending behaviour, yet they are the first ones to get massive help from the government. There seems to be a mismatch, right?

Then, why did that even happen, given that bailouts might not have worked and are morally unsound? Answer: law-makers were scared. They were scared that the failure of the few Wall Street firms would bring down the entire economy, since they are simply too powerful and too entrenched in the working of the financial system (Mukunda, 2019). 

Therefore, even when bailouts are not the best economically and morally, law-makers will rush to the aid of firms that are too big to fail.

Market dominance is to blame. If there were more companies in the financial market and the leading companies had a smaller market share, bailouts that the economy didn’t need might not have been issued because in that case, the failure of a few firms would not have been such a horror to law-makers (Barr, 2017).

If a government doesn’t want its economy to be too dependent on the fortunes of a few companies, it needs to prevent market dominance.

China’s digital industry has typically been led by a few big firms (Belton, 2019). Looks familiar?

Thus, the Chinese government should go ahead and rein in on its tech giants, if the purpose is to curb the rise of dominating firms.

At least, as long as it is indeed doing what it says.

Privacy and Transparency: The Social and Political Consideration

The trouble with this move by the Chinese government, however, is precisely that people don’t know whether its aim is really just to curb dominating firms.

Many like to compare this to the US congress hearing – and indeed I have also made that comparison at the start of this article, just so that you will see the relevance of this issue – but the two are actually slightly different. While the US hearings are aired publicly and held by elected officials, the Chinese meetings were secretive and done by government officials whom we know little about.

That slight difference matters a lot to how the message should be perceived. It is much easier to trust a hearing that can be seen by everybody than to believe what a government spokesperson says it’s about.

Well, this issue about trust is a question few residents of mainland China will ask, for the overwhelming majority of those I know are loyal and very trustful of the government.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t doubt and question China’s intent; we can never trust a government with a record of human rights violation and abuses (Edwards, 2020).

The possession of data has been a contentious issue in the Western world especially since the Snowden incident in 2013, and similarly it should be a concern for the Chinese people.

The Chinese government already has extensive access to the data owned by many private firms (Wang, 2017), and the fear is that by imposing even more regulations on tech giants, infringement on data and privacy rights will go from bad to worse.

This isn’t an empty fear, The Chinese government did take several actions to gain tighter control over tech giants’ databases (Leise, 2021).

Also, for a country that famously bans numerous foreign websites, it seems plausible that China is regulating the providers of digital services only because it has grown wary of allowing private firms to run the Internet. After all, it can get a lot harder to censor information regarding the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989 or the mass internment of Xinjiang Uyghers if private firms, rather than the government, power the search engines. 

Although the government already controls all the internet access routes (Herold, 2012), it has recently targeted Virtual Private Network (VPN) tools to circumvent the ‘Great Firewall’ and access foreign websites (Reuters, 2018). That indeed reveals deep anxiety about losing its control over the Internet.

If it cannot tolerate individuals surfing Google and Youtube, it certainly cannot tolerate a powerful industry whose service provision it isn’t fully confident that it can control.

Nevertheless, some may say to me that ‘hey Yuning, don’t be so pessimistic. Although there is a lot we don’t know about the Chinese government, we do know it has lots of laws that protect its citizens’ data and privacy, right?’

Well, you know what, they are right. The country does have laws and even clauses of the Constitution that protect those rights, with some of them coming out very recently (National Law Review, 2021). 

However, that works out better on paper than in reality. I just wish to point out that with such an opaque government that China has, nobody can truly be sure that the laws have been followed by law enforcement and state organs. If a liberal democracy like the United States, with all its watchdog organisations and institutional checks and balances, can have problem handling citizens’ private data like Mr. Snowden revealed, we should put even less trust in a one-party dictatorship.

I’m not making random assertions that China isn’t trustworthy; some of its actions in recent years seem to suggest that it really doesn’t want the public to know too much about what’s happening within its borders.

In February this year, for instance, the BBC reported that when the WHO went to China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, it ‘requested raw patient data from early data’, which was ‘standard practice’, but only ‘received a summary’ from the Chinese government (BBC, 2021). 

If someone lies to you, will you trust him any longer?

Further back in time, the imposition of the National Security law is strong evidence of the unreliability of the Chinese government. When the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong back to China, the Chinese government promised to govern the land under a ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, which says that China will allow Hong Kong to remain a democracy with all its rights and rights unaffected, for another fifty years (Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, 2007).

However, in June last year, after a whole year of protests, China imposed a new National Security Law which targets a wide range of vaguely defined crimes, such as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign entities (Tsoi & Lam, 2020). To most observers in the West, this has broken the ‘One Country, Two Systems’, for now China is directly interfering with Hong Kong’s judicial system (Rogers, 2020).

If someone breaks a promise he made with you, will you take what he says as truth anymore?

Although those incidents are different from the event we are discussing here, they do show that as we evaluate the action of the Chinese government now, we must not forget its horrible record at telling us what really is happening.

Conclusion: A Mess

As much as I hope to provide a definitive judgement on whether China is justified in doing what it’s doing, I cannot, unfortunately. Curbing the rise of dominating firms is a need, but as long as we have a government that lacks all the transparency needed for credibility, we can never take what it says as the truth.

China is shooting itself in its own foot by being so opaque about everything. It’s not just the regulations on tech giants that has caused global concern. Hong Kong, the origins of Covid-19 and the events in Xinjiang are just some of the things that have made relations between Beijing and the outside world tense, to say the least.

If China really wishes to earn the trust of the world on all those issues, it must reform its political structure. Democratisation is not necessary – though it will likely not wish to lose its grip on the state – but at least it should make its governance more accessible to outside scrutiny. That won’t solve all the problems, but at least that will help.

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