COVID-19’s Impact on Globalisation

Written by: Elizabeth Khoo Yuk Min (21-U1), Emma Shuen Lee (21-O1),  He Jizhao (21-U5), Lim Junheng, Jovan (20-O5), Martha Henrietta Soetedjo (20-U2), Ng Teck Zhong (20-E5), Tiew Zuo Yuan, Richard (21-I2), Zuo Yuning (21-A1)

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

Introduction

In economics, globalisation is defined as the integration or interconnection of national economies through the trade of goods and services, capital flows [Foreign Direct Investment and short-term flows (“hot money”)], and labour migration. All in all, globalisation refers to just how interconnected we are in this day and age. Globalisation is important to many countries, in part because it allows countries to specialise in areas with comparative advantage while trading with each other to obtain what they cannot produce competitively. This entire system has allowed many to benefit from lower and more efficient production of almost anything. 

Many countries depend on globalisation to obtain what they cannot produce themselves. One key example would be Singapore—with a lack of natural resources, as well as a tropical climate, Singapore is not able to produce everything that it needs, including the daily necessities of food and water. Without globalisation, Singapore would not have been able to even survive her initial years, let alone be prospering as she is now.

However, the arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has changed the global outlook. With COVID-19 came lockdowns and restrictions, including measures to limit exports for the purposes of one’s own consumption. On the flip side, such lockdowns and restrictions have increased the demand for online services, including the Internet. So, how then has the SARS-CoV-2 virus changed the global economy? Will such changes be permanent? And, of course, how will they impact globalisation as a whole? Read on to find out more!

How COVID-19 has Impacted Globalisation

Positive impacts 

The course of globalisation has been wonderfully guided by the interconnection between first world countries and countries with adequate access to the Internet. Multiple countries, such as Australia, Singapore and China went into lockdown with the rise of COVID-19 cases. This led to a boom in the demand for digital connections, such as Internet access and online telecommunication, to continue work and business meetings. The burgeoning growth of videotelephony software has risen the virtual meeting landscape to greater heights, by forcing producers to improve bandwidth capacity in order to accommodate the sudden rise in new users. 

Additionally, being in quarantine has forced countries to ramp up their digitalisation efforts in order to commence cashless payments by online banking as well as contact tracing. The Straits Times reports that nearly 75% of firms in Singapore have accelerated digitalisation efforts within, as COVID-19 has pushed along the urgency to be innovative and efficient in a time of worldwide distress. Overall, digitalisation has reached greater heights in the wake of COVID-19 globally.

While globalisation has faced disturbances widely felt throughout the world, we should have the tenacity to consider how globalisation itself is in fact the solution to the problem. A global problem has to be solved with concerted efforts globally, thus COVID-19 has just sparked the beginning of such cooperation. The COVID-19 virus has taught the world that countering it necessitates banding together to come up with solutions. Take COVAX for instance, a worldwide initiative to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines for more equitable access to low-income and middle-income countries. It is precisely this global crisis that has led us to formulate solutions that cannot be achieved by one country alone. As Michelle Dean claims, “Crisis forces commonality of purpose on one another”, clearly displaying the opportunity for us to strengthen our ties and move forward together in the fight against COVID-19. 

Negative impacts 

However, as national lockdowns around the world continue to hinder the flow of raw materials and completed goods, COVID-19 has substantially interrupted global supply chains. While office goers have the option to work from home, those employed in factories have to adhere to new rules such as physical distancing, contact-tracing and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). These cumbersome practices, coupled with the restrictions on travelling between countries, has resulted in many delays and even complete halts in production. 

One only has to look at the garment industry to observe the adverse effects of supply chain disruptions on globalisation. The garment industry relies more heavily on human labour compared to other industries like the automobile industry. According to a 2019 report by the International Labour Organization, the Asian clothing industry alone employs over 43 million people. As a result of high human involvement in their operations, clothing businesses are extremely vulnerable to manufacturing disruptions and continue to suffer huge losses as the pandemic ravages on. For instance, the US Census Bureau reported that there was a 73.5% drop in clothing sales in America between March and April 2020. 

Another industry that has suffered under COVID-19’s wrath is (to no surprise) the tourism industry. With the extensive lockdowns and travel restrictions, many of such businesses struggle to receive new customers. Popular metropolitan areas in Singapore including Orchard Road and Marina Bay have seen drastic falls in retail sales of up to 52%. Just recently, an announcement was made to close the terminals and the connected Jewel Complex of Changi Airport—a place that has been crowned as the world’s best airport for its eighth consecutive year and a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike—in response to heightened concerns over the rise in community cases. 

With Singapore’s economy riding on tourism and trade, the impact of COVID-19 has no doubt brought various challenges. Nonetheless, our country is determined to revitalise its tourism industry, opening our doors to the global market once again. 

Now What? 

Some people are worried that COVID-19 will slow globalisation down or even encourage the emerging de-globalisation movement. However, their worries are likely misplaced. Although the world has never seen COVID-19 before, it has seen similarly unexpected and disruptive events. How the world fared then can teach us much about where we will go in the near future.

Look at the 1970s, for instance. The golden age after World War Two came to an end when the outbreak of war in the Middle East in 1973 and the Iranian Revolution raised the global oil prices by multiple times, placing a great strain on both the economies of wealthy countries like the United States and that of poor countries like the Republic of Congo. Many feared a collapse of the global economy then. Yet, globalisation continued.

Similarly, in 2008, a disruptive turn in the stock market eliminated the life-time savings of millions around the world, and negative growth proceeded in many Western countries.

Many again became worried about globalisation. Yet, it continued.

The truth is that downturns are as unavoidable as growth in capitalist economies. And, contrary to what Karl Marx predicted, the global economy does know how to adapt to changes. When oil prices rose, countries began exploring ways to improve energy security. When the stock market crashed, countries began implementing policies to reduce risky behaviours in the financial market.

Similarly, as COVID-19 wrecks countries and robs lives, countries will and should adapt by looking for technologies that will make work less dependent on face-to-face interaction. Perhaps technologies like video calls will be made more easily accessible, so that economies can function even when people are stuck at home. Dramatic adaptation will definitely be challenging to do, but it is ultimately necessary.

Hence, what Singapore must do now is manage the present COVID-19 threat, as well as ensure that the future transits to a more digitised and flexible economic model.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, we are very certain that COVID-19 has significantly affected the process of globalisation. The pressing demands to be dealt with have expedited the innovation of internet infrastructure and brought a boom to e-commerce. COVID-19 has also ruthlessly cut the complex supply chains of multinational corporations and caused huge losses of revenue. Now, we can go back to the question that we had ventured at the start: how does COVID-19 impact the process of globalisation as a whole? Does it impact it positively or negatively?

The answer is both. 

Bibliography: 

  1. Harapko, S. (2021, February 18). How COVID-19 impacted supply chains and what comes next. EY Singapore. https://www.ey.com/en_sg/supply-chain/how-covid-19-impacted-supply-chains-and-what-comes-next.
  2. Singapore Tourism Board. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on tourism in Singapore & the road to recovery and transformation. Singapore. https://www.visa.com.sg/dam/VCOM/regional/ap/singapore/newsroom/documents/impact-of-covid-19-on-tourism-in-singapore.pdf
  3. Singapore’s tourism sector emerges from 2020 with greater resilience and reinvention. STB. (n.d.). https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/media-centre/media-releases/Singapore-Tourism-Sector-Emerges-From-2020-With-Greater-Resilience-and-Reinvention.html.html.
  4. Will covid kill globalisation?: The Economist. (2020). YouTube. https://youtu.be/KJhlo6DtJIk.

Surreal, Cerebral & Potent: The SCP Fictionverse

Written by: Aaron Wong Jielun (21-I4), Chen Jiulin (20-E1), Elizabeth Khoo (21-U1), Jace Bong (20-E1), Leia Ong Rui En (20-U1)

Designed by: Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1)

Item #: SCP-001

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: [REDACTED] The information in this article is limited to personnel of the O-5 council; reading on will result in immediate termination of breacher.

Description: Welcome to the Foundation. We are a secret organisation operating in the shadows, and we seek to Secure, Contain, and Protect all anomalous beings within our world. However, before you scan your surroundings for shadowy figures in suits, or start hunting for unnatural phenomena, we must admit one important fact: the SCP Foundation does not truly exist.

Instead, the SCP Foundation is the website of an online community that creates supernatural horror stories about a fictional organisation of the same name. From having its very own United Nations to biblical allusions of Abel & Cain, the SCPverse has lit the path for creepypasta (horror fiction generated by internet users) writers around the globe, and has solidified its position in popular internet culture. 

So, what exactly are the factors that have made the SCPverse so popular among millions of internet users?

Escaping into a Real, Fictional World

The SCPverse contains boundless creativity that provides respite from the mundanity of real life as it creates an immersive experience that pulls readers into its fictional world. 

This is in no small part achieved through the unique style of SCP stories; they are consistently written in a clinical, professional tone and obey standardised conventions mimicking that of a research report. While you may expect such a writing style to be dry and monotonous, in reality, the stark contrast between the cool, clinical writing and the disturbing, unsettling subject matter instead brings out palpable tension, suspense and horror that would even make the likes of great horror writers like H.P. Lovecraft jump in their graves. 

Additionally, SCP articles have no limits to their creativity; popular stories have included an IKEA retail unit that houses an alternate dimension (SCP-3008), a dangerous statue-like entity that can only move when not under surveillance (SCP-173), and a simple sheaf of papers that possibly causes new SCP entities to come into existence whenever it is read (SCP-001). As SCP entities are neither confined by the laws of reality, nor are their stories restricted to specific genres or themes, virtually any idea can form the basis for a SCP story. Mr Kevin Martens Wong, an EJC GP teacher-cum-science-fiction writer, observed, “The boundlessness of it … really appeals to people that have divergent imaginations.”

As such, the SCP fictionverse primarily builds itself on escapism for its readers through its uncapped potential for creativity and inventiveness regarding lore and grotesque scenarios. The adaptive value of creepiness allows for various reconstructed fantasies that elicit effects of eeriness and shock value, which many followers of the SCPverse crave. Ultimately, the effect created is that readers aren’t just casual readers browsing stories for entertainment. Instead, they enter the shoes of Foundation members carefully studying the reports of Foundation researchers in order to prevent a catastrophic containment breach. In this way, the SCPverse serves as an escape for readers.

Surprisingly, the SCP fiction verse also finds itself occasionally rooted in the real world, be it stories based on ancient folklore or contemporary happenings. When writers tap on such relatable contexts, it value-adds another dimension to these stories where readers can see for themselves things they are familiar with unfold into unfamiliar horror.

In an interview with creepypasta enthusiast Sarah Ang (21-A1), she mentioned that what draws her to said creepypastas are also the “context that are relevant to reality”. “I like that the stories have context that are relevant to reality, making the stories more realistic and hence scarier.” It is also such contexts that give her an adrenaline rush since the contexts make her picture the supernatural things happening around her.

For Budding Writers: An Attractive Verse with Low Barriers to Entry

Similar to every other social media platform, the SCP Fictionverse also prides itself on the anonymity accorded to each of the writers – writers no longer need to fear being judged and attacked by other netizens because well, they are writing under an alias! It should also be acknowledged that posting SCP stories, while time-consuming at times, comes at no posting fee which would be greatly appreciated by many new writers just starting out. 

In addition to this, the verse has also been instrumental in encouraging budding fiction writers via honing their writing as well as enjoying the writing process. For Mr Wong, he saw the verse as an interesting starting point for one to write, where writers can attempt to incorporate “the fairly mundane and unexpected” as well as the “relatable” into their stories. 

Mr Wong shared, “The scariest horror movies are the ones where you can totally imagine yourself in that situation, you can totally feel how you could relate to that.” Indeed, there are many practical considerations for fiction writers in the SCP verse to test their mettle against; at the same time, there are many unexplored possibilities within the verse that makes the SCP verse an attractive starting point for new writers.

According to Mr Wong, the reading and writing process within the SCPverse is also “somewhat cathartic” where both readers and authors are constantly interacting with “the boundaries of how we tell stories and how we experience things” and eventually “connecting to other people through it”. Indeed, other than just being a fountain of escapist creepypasta content, the verse has also established itself as a beacon of fiction-writing that assures new writers both accessibility and excitement in the crafting of their stories.

Reflecting upon the Future Direction of the Verse

The above said, it is still undeniable that the verse is at times still unappealing to the general population. For one, as the verse developed over the years, there has also been an ostensible increase in stories that are based majorly on the aspect of Scaregore. One prominent example would be SCP-597, a “blob of flesh approximately 5.8m (19ft) high, and 10.67m (35ft) wide” which would understandably be a turn-off for readers with weaker stomachs.

In addition, the vast majority of narratives that have been written are unfortunately rooted mainly in Western and European mythology and culture. These include Western cultural references like IKEA stores (SCP-3008), Nazi bunkers (SCP-108) and even Biblical figures (too many to count). While these have given rise to some of the most iconic and memorable SCPs, the lack of cultural diversity greatly inhibits their potential and scope. 

The SCPVverse originated from the American website 4chan, and thus are written presumably for dominant American audiences. However, the reach of SCPs has evidently spread internationally (hence this article), and now SCPs can be penned — and are penned — by anybody of any culture.

Despite this, most SCP authors have nevertheless followed in the stead of their predecessors, causing a proliferation of stories hinging on European lore. Imagine more SCPs rooted in Southeast Asian, South Asian, or even African folklore — how much more colourful and creative the SCP universe would be! Other SCP enthusiasts would also be able to learn more about cultures other than their own. 

As a whole, the SCPverse would be greatly more dynamic and enjoyable if it could also appeal to a larger audience, be it through less Euro-centric or Scaregore-oriented content.

AAA #30

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

Q1: I’m starting to drift from my close secondary school friends. Is this normal and how can I continue to keep  in contact with them?

Aunt Agatha hears you! This is a problem that many people face when transitioning into a new phase of life and are starting to feel the effects of meeting new people. Maybe you haven’t been chatting as much with your best friends, or you haven’t been able to coordinate times for a lunch date with your ex-classmates. Whatever it is, know that this is completely normal, and don’t stress too much about it!

This might seem very obvious to you, but sometimes we forget that not keeping in touch  with our friends can cause both parties to drift apart. This can happen when we feel overwhelmed by our hectic schedules, which is a very common occurrence in JC. Even if we promise to consistently check up on one another, this often becomes the least of our priorities when schoolwork and other commitments start to kick in. It often starts off unconsciously, making it difficult for us to notice the friendship drifting apart, until the rift  becomes a gaping hole. 

To make a friendship last, you need to invest in it. Set aside time in your planner to check up on your old friends, or give them a call. If your friendship is on rocky ground and you are apprehensive about breaking the ice that has formed over time, you could reply to your friend’s of recent social media  posts or stories instead and ease into a conversation. Hopefully, it’ll be less awkward then and you can arrange  video calls to catch up (stay safe during this pandemic!) or even arrange a meet-up for everyone to look forward to at the end of the year!

However, it is important to consider: do you  still want to stay in close contact with your friend, and does your friend still want to maintain this close bond with you? If so, are you both willing to invest the time into your shared friendship? Or are you okay with the growing distance between you and your friend, and are willing to let go of the friendship? We have to remember that friends come and go, and it is not necessarily a bad thing to drift away from each other. 

Aunt Agatha hopes that you will be able to make the right decision and be happy with it ; all the best and remember, Aunt Agatha is always here to help!

Q2: I am experiencing burnout from my studies and the Mid-Year examinations are approaching. How do I overcome this feeling of burnout in time?

We all know the importance of studying hard for examinations. However, when one’s day is packed with non-stop studying, one will inevitably experience burnout. Study burnout is a fairly common thing among students, so fret not, Aunt Agatha is here to help!

Study burnout is fairly easy to detect. When one is burnt out from studying, feelings of mental exhaustion and fatigue are very common, along with an inability to focus on the task at hand. The earlier one identifies these signs of burnout, the faster one can overcome them.

The biggest way to overcome study burnout is to take frequent breaks. Oftentimes, students experience burnout as they devote most, if not all of their time to studying, which can take a toll on their mental and physical health. Therefore, one way to overcome feeling burnt out  is to take frequent breaks to rest and relax. Engage in low-stress and leisurely activities, like exercising or other hobbies that one might enjoy.

In addition, to avoid study burnout altogether, one can create a practical schedule to help section and plan one’s time efficiently. This also encourages one to take regular breaks in between study sessions. Another way to avoid study burnout is to get adequate rest every night. Sleep is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and in this case, it can help one avoid study burnout by allowing one to feel more refreshed and motivated each day. A healthy diet can also help in maintaining this healthy lifestyle as it will not only benefit one’s body physically, but also mentally as it can increase one’s energy levels and improve one’s learning ability.

Lastly, Aunt Agatha would like to remind everyone that although one’s studies are important, one’s welfare and health is of even greater importance. Thus, do remember to take frequent breaks and practice self care during this stressful exam period! Always remember that your grades do not define you as a person. I hope these tips will help you in your exam revision and good luck for MYEs!

Q3: With the limitations in study areas  and libraries, I have nowhere to study! How do I stay focused at home? Please send help!

Don’t worry, Aunt Agatha’s here to help! We all know how challenging it is to be confined to our homes. It’s especially difficult when the lines between work, play and rest are blurred. That’s why the key to self-discipline is drawing boundaries. Contrary to popular belief, boundaries are not just used for our relationships with others, but they can also apply to our individual lives! By drawing boundaries between when and where we choose to work and play even within the four walls of our home, we can create a better environment for ourselves. Here are some ways in which we can do so:

Firstly, the way we start our day determines how the rest of the day will unfold. It may seem like a small and inconvenient task, but we can start the day right by making our beds. This act of tidying up immediately cordons off our beds. Not only is this a good habit which keeps  our bedrooms in order, but it also forces us to separate ourselves from our beds. If we challenge ourselves to make our beds every time we lie in it, we are less likely to return to it for slumber. 

Secondly, find the perfect location. Who’s to say a room is the ideal study place? If the temptation to crawl back under the sheets is too great, you may want to consider moving to the living room or to the dining room instead. Sometimes being in the presence of a family member who is also working may help us better concentrate and act as accountability partners. It is also wise to limit these areas for work only so as to better distinguish areas of work, play and rest distinctly within our homes. 

Now that we’ve found the  perfect location, put away all distractions. I know, we tell ourselves that our phones would come in handy; and that we need to listen to music to concentrate. It’s the oldest trick in the book. But it really never helps. Lock it away or entrust it to a family member if you must. Take every precaution to ensure that nothing will allow our minds to wander. 

However, above all else, our minds are our greatest weapons. We can choose to use them to our advantage or they will be used against us. If we choose to dwell on the feeling of dread, we can never accomplish anything. On the other hand, if we choose to change our mindsets and find joy in studying at home, learning becomes much easier and more enjoyable. 

I hope these tips will help you ease into studying at home and remember, Aunt Agatha is always one question away!

Q4: I am always torn between the choice of chicken or fish. Which should I choose?

Hi there! This is a common dilemma, and it’s completely normal to encounter difficulties when trying to decide between the two options, especially when you’re unsure of what’s the healthier choice. Hopefully, some of the information provided here will be of use to you.

For some context, fish are aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack limbs with digits while the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a type of domesticated fowl originating from Southeast Asia. Both are common foods around the world, with chickens outnumbering humans 2:1 (Telkemp, n.d). while Europe, Japan and the United States of America together accounted for 47 percent of the world’s total fish consumption in 1961 but only about 20 percent in 2015 (The Fish Site, 2018). These are some fun facts that you might want to know. 

To answer this question, we must consider the two options. Chicken is a form of white meat while fish can come in the form of white fish or oily fish. This makes both fish and chicken generally healthier than red meats like beef or mutton as they are leaner sources of protein with a lower fat content. Although oily fish like the Atlantic Herring contain more fatty acids, and have just as much fats as chicken, the omega 3 present in them is known to reduce blood pressure, thereby providing positive health benefits from the consumption of these species of fish. Hence, it is alright to consume oily fish in moderation. However we can take oily fish out of the equation as they are less served in our school’s canteen apart from the sardines that are occasionally sold in the Malay Rice store. Pardon me if I missed out on any oily fish, as I am no oily fish expert. 

Comparing white fish and chicken, white fish has a much lower fat content than chicken, while containing similar amounts of protein, basing upon the Alaskan Pollock (United States Department of Agriculture, 2011) and the Asian Sea Bass (Barramundi) that is more commonly found in Singapore (Seafood source, 2014). Both options however have different nutrients, with fish containing vitamin B-12 and omega 3 and chicken containing vitamin A and more minerals. 

In conclusion, my advice would be to strike a balance between chicken and fish. Both are definitely delicious but it would be best to consume both in adequate and balanced amounts. You can try a 3-2 diet (3 days of fish and 2 days of chicken), or a 2-2-1 diet (2 days each of chicken and fish and 1 day vegetarian. The combination does not have to be fixed, you could always add other meat options like beef, pork or duck and change it whenever you like. The key would be to strike a balance. Of course, for a healthier diet, there are other things you could do, like removing the skin from the chicken before consumption, or choosing non-fried or baked options. See you around!

Bibliography:

  1. Barramundi. (2014, Jan 23). SeafoodSource. Retrieved May 22, 2021, from https://www.seafoodsource.com/seafood-handbook/finfish/barramundi 
  2. Ishak, R. (2016, Oct 14). 9 Signs You’re Drifting Away From Your Friend. Bustle. Retrieved May 22, 2021, from https://www.bustle.com/articles/185560-9-signs-youre-drifting-away-from-your-friend-how-to-know-if-you-should-try 
  3. Mittal, S. (2020, Jan 31). What is Study Burnout and how to overcome it? Jargan Josh. Retrieved May 22, 2021, from https://www.jagranjosh.com/articles/what-is-study-burnout-and-how-to-overcome-it-1510653750-1 
  4. The Fish Site. (2018, July 10). FAO biannual report lauds aquaculture’s role in meeting growing demand for fish. Retrieved May 22, 2021, from https://thefishsite.com/articles/fao-biannual-report-lauds-aquaculture-as-champion-in-meeting-growing-demand-for-fish#:~:text=Europe%2C%20Japan%20and%20The%20United,at%2024.0%20kg%20per%20capita 

¿?sick beats?¿ June 2021 Edition

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

Memes. Be it through GIFs, Vines, Reddit, pictures or songs, they’re short, chuckle-worthy and go viral with the tap of a finger. Surprisingly, full-length songs have also been turned into memes! More than any other generation, memes appeal the most to generation Z teenagers, who consume music at a staggering rate every day. But if you’re a little older, or have never really grasped the wondrous concept of “meme songs”, well, fret not! Here’s the Sick Beats team, bringing you the ultimate crash course – ‘Meme Songs for Dummies’. 

Venture with us into two different eras: The Classics (songs originating from the late 90s to early 2000s), and The Modern (2010s to 2020s). 

First up, the Classics. These songs are from an era that most teenagers may not know very well, but the songs themselves will no doubt be familiar to us as memes! 

All Star

‘Somebody once told me the world was gonna roll me, I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed’. 

Here’s a song whose lyrics we all KNOW by heart: “All Star”. Can you believe that this smash-hit was released in 1999? “All Star” was Smash Mouth’s second single off their second full length album – “Astro Lounge”. The song became one of the group’s most successful hits, having peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in August that year. In 2001, when the animated film “Shrek” was released, it featured the all-time hit song during its opening sequence. The movie itself was pretty comedic, but coupled with the crude nature of “All Star”… you can imagine what a perfect match made in heaven it was. Consider this opportunity seized by the meme enthusiasts.

“All Star” not only became a global music sensation, but a meme that will live forever. Apart from its most iconic feature in Shrek’s opening, social media stars have also proliferated its fame. It now dwells in the recesses of TikTok and meme compilations on YouTube.

Barbie Girl

The annoyingly catchy tunes of “Barbie Girl” produced a shocking 24 years ago had once been voted the ‘worst song of the 1990s’ by the Rolling Stone magazine’s Readers Poll in 2011. Although the song may be irksome to some, others are hit with a tinge of odd nostalgia as they recall their younger days, chanting the chorus over and over again like a mantra. 

“Barbie Girl” is a song by the Danish-Norwegian dance-pop group Aqua. With its upbeat, fun rhythm that causes people to instinctively break into a dance, it has gained worldwide recognition to this day. From millennials to Gen Zs to Generation Alpha, this song is familiar and close to the heart. 

No doubt, this is the children’s anthem. Sadly, the lyrics are extremely problematic due to its sexist remarks made about women. The songwriters crudely objectified women intentionally, reducing girls to only their sexual capacity. Merely reflecting on the lyrics would cause one to grow uncomfortable at the blatant sexualisation of women which has ironically been labelled as a kid’s classic. 

With your newfound knowledge of how weirdly raunchy and problematic “Barbie Girl’ is, you should probably think twice before singing along to the tune. 

Rickroll 

The mere mention of the word “rickroll”, generates an oddly specific image to pop up in our heads: Rick Astley, awkwardly dancing to his song, “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Many unfortunate souls have fallen prey to the prank of clicking on an unsuspecting YouTube link, only for it to take them to Astley’s music video. However, this phenomenon did not come out of nowhere. In fact, it had a pretty interesting and well-documented rise. Here’s how it all boiled down.

In March 2007, a YouTube user began the trend of “rickrolling”. They posted links which they claimed were the trailer to the fourth installment of the popular game Grand Theft Auto, but were actually all links to the music video for “Never Gonna Give You Up”. This user also captioned posts on 4chan about this prank labelled “RickRoll’d”, eventually leading to the grand birth of “rickrolling”. 

“Rickrolling” spread like wildfire. Originally, it began at a small scale: people called into radio stations only to “rickroll” the DJs. However, pretty soon, “rickrolling” started to happen at a MUCH larger scale. From being used to protest the Church of Scientology for its censorship practices, to being sung at a Thanksgiving Day Parade. In recent times, the tune has even been used to prank an entire stadium of soccer enthusiasts, showing how ubiquitous the song has become in our modern day culture. 

As a trend, “rickrolling” is still going strong. On TikTok, students have been taking this opportunity to “rickroll” their teachers on Zoom during the quarantine period. Even Rick himself has fully embraced the fame that the song has brought him, releasing various remasters and remixes throughout the years. One of those remixes went viral this year on TikTok. So, it seems that “rickrolling” is here to stay. The next time you click on a YouTube link, don’t be surprised if it shows a young red-headed British singer, crooning the iconic hook, awkwardly shuffling around as 80s synths blast in the background. 

Take on Me 

Released by Norwegian dance-pop group A-ha in 1984, “Take on Me” originally didn’t gain as much traction as it currently does. The song took a painstaking two versions and three releases for it to finally chart at number two on the UK Singles Chart in 1985. Its commercial success was aided by its rather innovative music video that combined pencil-and-paper stop motion as well as rotoscoping.  As of 2021, its music video has 1.2 billion views. (That’s about a seventh of the world’s population, mind you.) While the song itself did somewhat play a part in its rise to fame, “Take on Me”’s success is more frequently attributed to its meme. 

The song’s ‘meme-able’ quality comes from the chorus which is notoriously difficult to sing. At the end of the chorus, the lead singer Morten Harket sings the lyrics, “Take on me/take me on/I’ll be gone” in increasingly higher notes, even hitting his falsetto range towards the end. At the end of the chorus, he sings, “In a day or two”, hitting the highest note of the song (an E5!) on the word “two”. Thanks to its infamous difficulty, many have taken it up as a challenge in an attempt to sing it. One of the most viewed covers of this song is by the notable YouTube voice actor ProZD. His video entitled, “Nailing every note in Take on Me”, is a bona-fide example of the meme as it shows him struggling and ultimately failing to hit the high notes in “Take on Me”. Many others have tried to challenge themselves as well, spreading the meme everywhere across the Internet. Perhaps you should try the challenge one day, and see whether you can hit that E5 as well! 

Next, here are the newer meme songs that were produced in the generation us teenagers grew up in!

Astronomia

Covid 19 gave birth to one of the most popular memes in 2020, more widely known as the dancing coffin meme. So how exactly did this heavy EDM song, posted a literal decade ago, transform into such a ubiquitous meme? It all started on TikTok (no surprise there), when a user uploaded a video of 6 pallbearers with “Astronomia” as its backing track. Initially, the meme represented the riskiness of venturing out unnecessarily during the pandemic, but now this meme has morphed and can be used in a variety of situations, such as getting into trouble with the law, parents, school, or just any worrying situation.

Around a year has passed and this meme is still alive and kicking. Different versions of this song have also reached Shazam’s top 200 global chart, showing the large number of people that have been newly introduced to this ear candy.

Gangnam Style

This song belongs to the current P Nation boss, Park Jae Sung, better known as PSY and was co-produced by current YG entertainment CEO Yang Hyun Suk. With its release, “Gangnam Style” and its music video took the world by storm, topping music charts, with the iconic pony dance move gaining mad traction, effectively changing the global pop culture landscape. Shortly after, many individuals and even organisations have made parodies of the song.

Until now, it is impossible not to remember such a masterpiece as this, or at the bare minimum – recall the ICONIC pony dance move. “Gangnam Style” was the top meme of 2012, and years later, many “Gangnam Style” stickers were still being created and circulated on social media.

Despite being your typical K-pop song, one should never underestimate the sheer might of this simple song. “Gangnam Style” has created new cultures, such as dancing in mobs, even being used as a symbol for global unity and getting audiences to recognise the Korean Wave.

Kahoot Lobby Music  

This piece was released as an official song under the Kahoot! Lobby Music Original Soundtrack in 2013. Play the first second of the song and observe the immediate reactions of students who have grown all too familiar to the tune. Teachers have used Kahoot! countless times, blasting the track while waiting for all students to enter the Kahoot! room, where they unconsciously inculcate their students with the habit of expecting this track to be played whenever they use the site. The song was uploaded on Spotify and currently has a jaw-dropping 4 million streams. 

Even though the song may seem like just another cute track that Gen Z’s are oddly enthralled with, it is significant to many people in contributing to their school experiences as the track brings back innocent, nostalgic memories (such as getting one question wrong and falling to the last place) that they wish they could still relive. 

PPAP

This was a short single written by Japanese comedian Daimaou Kosaka, better recognised by his mustard yellow leopard print coat. The music video was released in 2016, and it was hailed as the new “Gangnam Style” by various sources of online media news outlets shortly after it went viral. Even Justin Bieber himself shared the video on Twitter, captioning it as follows, “favourite video on the Internet”. Soon came a wave of fans that parodied the song, consequently generating fresh, new memes.

Cut to 2020, and in light of the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, the originator himself remixed the song and gave a whole new meaning to the letters “PPAP”, which now meant Pray for People And Peace. Evidently, the song is still quite popular especially amongst Gen Zs, as seen in the numerous stickers of “PPAP” that spread throughout the Internet. If you are unfamiliar with any of these stickers, or are running out of stickers to send to your friends, try adding these to your collection.

Shooting Stars 

This EDM song by Australian duo Bag Raiders was originally released in 2008, and is interestingly one of the few songs to feature the instrument Stylophone. Though the song peaked in Australia in 2013, it wasn’t a meme until 2017. The year before, “Shooting Stars” first gained traction when it was used in an animated tribute to Harambe the Gorilla. The next year, the song became a meme on Reddit, featuring people falling in space-like, surreal backgrounds.  

The song further surged in popularity when the singer Katy Perry used it in the music video for her diss track against Taylor Swift, titled “Swish Swish”. Though the meme accompanying this song may not be as big or impactful as some of the others featured on this list, the fame it gained is nothing to sneeze at. As of 2020, “Shooting Stars” has 128 million views on YouTube, showing the power of its accompanying meme. 

KALEIDOSCOPE: SLICES OF LIFE – VINCENT

Written by: Tricia Loh Qiuxuan (21-U1)

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

“Erm. If you ask me honestly, this is too much going on,” she said. Her wrinkly index finger near the canvas, she circled the air above the brush strokes. 

He swore Mrs Teo has something against him. Like some personal grudge of some sort which for some reason, could only be expressed through her much-unwarranted sarcasm when critiquing his paintings. Maybe he was just different. Over the years he acquired a certain style, there was surely a sort of idiosyncrasy in his works. Thick paint, thick outlines. Brave, dark, bold. 

“You know, the last time you said you wanted to paint a young lady, no? But the strokes here… Create this gloomy ambiance… It’s really not ideal. Actually, you make her look kind of wrinkly. But, you know, of course, this is only my opinion, you are the artist.”

He always found it ironic – the way she loved to stress on ‘her opinion’. It was, honestly, a terrible cover up for her stubborn contempt towards him.

The last time you said it was too plain, so I tried to add more depth to her features here, he explained. Then in a half-sigh, half-loathsome tone, she went on to ramble about his disappointing performance over the past year, how his works lacked charisma, appeal, effort, all the lovely adjectives. 

He was now in his usual element. He was the humble sponge, sucking her words dry, but processing nothing. Like a slow-mo scene in a movie. Sound is blurred. The camera pans to Mrs Teo with her delightful droplets of spit launched towards his face.  Camera cutting to the boy as he stares at her mouth with dull, vacant eyes. 

The lesson ended and he left in a daze. He didn’t exactly wish to impress Mrs Teo. But he couldn’t exactly bring himself to see his works deserving a ‘barely-passed’ for every coursework exam. Even in his essays, he was apparently ‘too technique-driven’ in his interpretations. 

Maybe it was dumb, the whole idea of becoming a successful artist. And in SINGAPORE? His mom was right, he really was deluded back then. There was no way he could become a local artist at this rate, let alone enter an arts school in university. 

Then a message from his brother came:

    ‘hey bro

what did she say about ur work’

He stared at it for a second.

‘lol. wanna make guess.

she detests me for no reason i swear’

theo (bro) is typing…

He groaned, placing his phone on the desk. He was absolutely losing it. Think of Theo, who, despite merely a few years older, was a part of the Singapore National Gallery’s arts management board. The brothers were always more on the artistic side. But Theo was different. He knew exactly where he needed to end up and climbed his way to the top.

A buzz. Half in a state of shock, he slammed the canteen table. 

“Alright – what’s going on. Why so shocked, man.” Phone snatched away from him, his friends peered over the tiny screen. 

“DUDE, you’re joking,” Emile says.

Sometimes, he felt like he owed Theo the world. He was exactly the brother he needed- the most assuring, devoted man he knew. Despite being an art student all his life, his works were never exactly considered worthy. He was always missing ‘signs of life’ in his paintings. Or at least that’s what Mrs Teo liked to think. 

But this text might be a game changer; this new exhibition was held at the National Gallery, and his piece was to be the main painting. 

‘Reimagining’, it was called. To feature up and coming local artists- to propel youth artists into the spotlight, apparently. He’d never considered himself as someone who’d fit into that bubble, but at this rate, he was more than ready to seize any opportunity. He couldn’t see himself as anything else other than an artist. 

Ransacking. A myriad of canvases were overturned that night. But none of them really seemed right. 

“This one?” 

Still-life paintings could never go wrong, he thought. He decided on a painting of sunflowers, one he painted in Paul’s place last year. Paul thought the piece was ‘completely him’. 

“I’m really proud of this. Paul said it’s one of my best works, too.”

Theo looks up from his laptop. 

“Good!” he said. He scanned the canvas, warmth spreading across his face. “I really like it.”

The two shared a moment of laughter. He loved sunflowers, they always seemed to smile at him whenever he walked past them at the florist. He had a series of sunflower paintings, his only works hidden from Mrs Teo. They were held too close to his heart and to subject them to her utter ruthlessness was the last thing he would do. 

Yet, for some reason, he felt compelled to seek her opinion. He spent the morning asking his friends at school, who all agreed that it was his best work. Today, he entered class with a fresh spirit of enthusiasm, pride welled up in him.

She was about to scurry off the moment class had ended, but he stopped her dead in her tracks. 

“You’re telling me you are going to be featured in an exhibition? At the National Gallery?”

He nodded, and took out the piece from his bag. I’m planning to send this in, it’s one of my favourite works, he said. 

Furrowed brows. Twisted face. 

“No lah. How can you send this in? Obviously not. I said already, your paintings are always too bold already, sometimes you need to simplify, don’t need so many patterns going on here. And if you want to make the flowers stand out, why did you only use yellow? The background should be a contrasting colour to bring out the sunflowers. If you want ah, I think you should go find something simple to paint. Paint the stars or something.”

He was crushed. 

Why can’t I have my own art style? Why can’t my work be bold? Just because your other students adopt a more conventional style doesn’t mean that I have to follow suit, right? I always find it stupid that I have to fit your stupid criteria and that you just CAN’T. LET. ME. BE. ME. 

A solo trip was what he needed most. Solitary, just a canvas and painting supplies. 

WHO SAID I NEED YOUR APPROVAL.

 He set the easel down aggressively. Why he was so heated over this, he couldn’t really tell. The fatigue grows within him. He used to pour his soul into painting, how much he loved showing the world through his lens. There was never a need to fit a criteria till he ended up in her class. He used to paint out of love. Because it was cathartic, because it made Theo proud, because painting was an anchor, it kept him going. 

Oh, how much he’d lost himself. And it was all thanks to Mrs Teo. Pain, turned into woe, turned into fury. He looked at the skyline before him, Marina Bay was indeed a spectacular classic, but his vision was tainted, with rage and condescension. 

“Why don’t you paint the stars,” she said. 

Sure. 

He thought for a bit. Looked at the scene before him. Then, dark, thick coats of paint lined the canvas once again. He was spurred on by an odd aggression, gripping his fingers. He couldn’t stand being dictated by Mrs Teo, and he needed to shove it up her face.

At this rate, he didn’t even bother perfecting his piece. Regardless of what he painted. his work was going to get featured as the main piece. So technically, it didn’t really matter what he painted, did it? Whether Mrs Teo liked it or not, it really didn’t matter.

It was past midnight when he was done. He stood up awkwardly from his easel, back tracking several steps. Yes, this was it, he chuckled to himself. That’ll show her. 

Theo was quite surprised to see the new painting. It wasn’t what he expected his brother to come up with, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to feature a potentially controversial piece as the main artwork in this exhibit. But there was something intriguing about a work so ironic as this and he found himself falling more and more in love with its absurdity. 

It was decided then. Mrs Teo was invited to the opening, but he refused to show her the piece before that.

Vest, suit, tie. Theo squeezed his hand around his shoulder. Silence fell as their eyes traced the creases of the velvet curtain draped over the canvas. He reached out, feeling the silk between his fingers. Electric. Then he erupted in laughter, his voice reverberating through the empty space. Think of Mrs Teo cutting his ego with words, then think of himself, directly giving her the one finger salute through his work.

By 7 p.m. the crowd started streaming in. He bounced his leg nervously as he was seated in a room away from his audience. Occasionally, he’d peek to see people in cocktail dresses sashaying in, fingers swirling wine glasses and pinkies in the air. Glossy heels gliding across the laminate. It felt quite surreal to hear the lively, indistinct chatter against gentle Blues in the background.

They got ready when the clock struck 8. The murmur faded to complete silence. With the crowd seated before him, while Theo gave a generous speech, his eyes darted around the crowd. Clad in her usual ‘Tai-Tai fit’ with an extra bling, he saw her, busying herself over the refreshments. 

It was now his turn to speak. 

“Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when Theo told me of this exhibit. The moment I reached home, and Theo would remember,” he chuckled, “the way I practically ransacked the room, in search of a painting.”

“Then I settled on one,” he said, going on about his painting on sunflowers. He diverted his attention to Mrs Teo now. 

“My God, was I THRILLED to show her my piece. It was one of my favourite pieces. But for some reason, it didn’t sit right with her. She said it was too bold. That I needed to simplify things.

Mrs Teo shifted awkwardly in her seat. 

“She told me to go for something simpler. ‘Paint the stars” He waved his hands with mock incredulity. 

In his sing-song, story-like tone, he went on, explaining his trip to Marina Bay, following her advice. 

“Paint the stars. Mrs Teo, I took your advice. This is my piece titled ‘The Starry Night’.”

The curtain fell. Mrs Teo’s eyes grew. 

For some reason, the ‘starry night’ of Marina Bay wasn’t exactly ‘starry’ per say.

Black canvas and the warm glow of a nearby light post. Zero stars. 

Paint the stars, she said. 

kaleidoscope: slices of life – Safia

Written by: Murugan Rakshita (21-E1)

Trigger Warning: This story contains mention of epilep$y, ment@l illness, $ui¢ide and euth@n@si@. Read at your own discretion. 

Doth land upon me, Little

Vagabonds of joy, 

O’ Wanderers of the Eternal—Guardians

of Gaea

I barge into the room to find Safia staring out of the window. She shudders at my arrival and pulls a woolen blanket over herself. Holding the sides of my robe diligently, I walk towards her in quiet steps, and run my fingers imperceptibly over her face. Her expression sours and eyes well. 

Her wistful face haunts me. It burns every cell of my body.

“My baby, it’s alright, mama is by your side!” I cried, my soul bleeding in raging agony. Wrapping my hands over her face, I plant a kiss on her forehead. My knees wobble, and I fall to the ground. 


Creations of the Cosmos

Narrate to me stories! — Legacies

Of the Lands—Songs of the Earth

Chants of the Birds

Your abode, my heaven

The rustle of leaves    

Whisper joy into my ears—They,

Erase away all my fears.

A year ago I found my little Safia curled up in the corner of her room, with tears streaming down her face. Anguished eyes, swollen cheeks. She hunched her shoulders and clutched a blade to her chest. She muttered anxiously, “Mama, I see them.”

Was it the work of demons? Was it some form of Black spell, haunting my child? I sought answers. I searched for renowned places of worship. I put my child through an ordeal. I entrusted a stranger, he tortured my little one. I watched her writhing in pain, her screams reverberate through my ears to this day. No, it was not a spirit. 

Spirits do not exist. 

Countless apologies, but I will not forgive myself.


Tell me, fluttering entities!

Do you see the Pegasus

Seated atop a bed of magnolia 

Drowned in Tears 

That charge mother Earth—Like 

Thousand Arrows

They pierce upon the soft mud

The dewdrops sing—They sound like

Clatters of pearls—

Music of Temple bells—Upon Hearing it, 

My heart swells.

I brought my little Safia to a clinic. The doctor said she suffered from an illness — related to the mind, of some sort. I did not exactly understand what it meant, but I noted his prescription into my mind. I sent my Safia to therapy.


My darling, 

My Bundle of Joy

The day I held you, it’s

Etched in my mind 

Like a sapling that anchors

Its tiny roots into slippery 

Earthen soil

My love for you wraps its

Warm clutches over my Heart

It is the rain that nourishes Earth—Similar to

the timely ruptures that strengthen our Love

“Mama, I see things.” 

Safia was only thirteen when she complained of seeing things. I neglected it, refusing to believe her words. My heart languishes at the thought of my foolery. 

“It’s just a phase, Safia,” I had assured her with my blind beliefs.


What Sorrow 

Do you hide in your heart,

That you cannot utter

That you cannot tell

This sorry mother?

Do not suffer in silence, O’

Dearest one

She is here to protect you

To embrace you 

In her warm arms

To coddle you 

Onto her soft bosom

Nearest to her heart, Your 

Safe home.

My Safia was shivering, shaking. She collapsed to the ground, the doctors held her. She screamed, she sunk her nails and scratched her torso. Her body was frail and malnourished. Her beady eyes now bulged in horror and grief. 

“We can treat her, but only if you give consent,” they said. 

Anything for my Safia.

“But-” they stammered, “should there arise any unforeseen circumstances, we shall not account for it.”


The more destructive the monsoon winds, 

The brighter the rainbow that glows after.

Misery is impermanent.

Flowers bloom

Happiness sprout

Diamonds rain

Moon smiles. 

Beauty recreates itself. 

But my Safia, she was special. 

The star’s glimmer is resplendent, as is her radiance; tis eternal. 

Her last words echo through the empty vessels of my soul. 

“Mama, I love you.”


DISCLAIMER: The story is written for story-telling purposes ONLY and does NOT endorse any notion, except that mental illness is real and thriving, and proper treatment should be duly followed. 

Impeachment: How it Works and Why (Part 2 of 2)

Written by: Lim Junheng, Jovan (20-O5), Ng Teck Zhong (20-E5)

Designed by: Elizabeth Khoo Yuk Min (21-U1)

Introduction

In our first article of this two-part series, we explored the idea of impeachment in the context of the United States of America, as well as how it works. We also covered some brief examples of notable impeachments in the American history. In this article, we shall explore the more recent impeachment cases, of Donald Trump, as well as the ongoing Impeachment Inquiry against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

First Impeachment of President Donald John Trump

The first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump in 2019 might still be fresh in everyone’s minds, considering the amount of buzz it generated at that time. For most of us, this was a noteworthy event in American history, reminding us of the enduring relevance of impeachment in today’s context.

Here’s how it all began. In September 2019, a whistleblower complaint was filed alleging the wrongdoing of President Trump. It goes, “[Trump] is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election, including, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals”. Furthermore, the whistleblower revealed possible White House cover-up of the case.

Soon after, it was revealed that the whistleblower reported on Trump’s attempts at getting the Ukranian President to conduct an investigation into Hunter Biden ( Joe Biden’s son). Then, on 25 and 26 September, the whistleblower’s report and the official White House record of Trump’s phone call with the Ukranian President Zelensky was released to the public (voluntarily by the Trump White House), possibly in an effort to put Trump in a good light. Thereafter, Trump unsurprisingly took to Twitter to discredit the whistleblower, with statements like, “It is just another Democrat Hoax!”.

Then came the impeachment trial in December. The House adopted two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The results for impeachment were as follows: 230-197 for impeachment for abuse of power, and 229-198 for impeachment for obstruction of Congress. A day after, Trump claimed that the impeachment had technically not taken place, as the articles were not handed to the Senate yet. This however, is false. The impeachment of a president is not dependent on whether it had been given to the Senate.

Thereafter, in the Senate, senators voted 52-48 to acquit President Trump on abuse of power, and 53-47 to acquit him on obstruction of Congress. Interestingly, something that many might have noticed was that almost all Republicans were committed to protecting the President, as opposed to past impeachments where members of Congress were willing to cross the aisle if necessary. In this case, the only exception was Senator Mitt Romney, being the only Repblican to vote in favour of convicting Trump — the only senator in history to do so.

Public opinion regarding the conviction of President Trump in the Senate remained at about 46% to 51% in polls. Interestingly, Trump’s approval ratings did not change much after the impeachment process. Conversely, the Clinton impeachment process in 1998 led to his approval ratings going up from 60% to about 70%. Just as the Senate votes are, the public remains polarised on issues relating to the President, which eventually led to the souring of the political climate in the country.

Second Impeachment of President Donald John Trump

In the more recent case in 2021, then-President Trump was impeached by Congress again, this time on the single charge of “inciting violence against the Government of the United States”. Here is how Trump ended up being impeached again:

In the 2020 Presidential Election, Trump lost to Biden, becoming one of the few Presidents that did not manage to win the reelection. Unsatisfied, Trump proceeded to claim that the election was full of irregularities, or in his own words, “rigged”. He also, through his lawyers, appealed against the result through the United States’ Supreme Court, all of which dismissed Trump’s claim on the basis of a lack of evidence to prove Trump’s claim beyond reasonable doubt.

With the failure of the legal efforts, Trump then focused on another possible strategy (from his point of view, that is) to “win” the election, pressuring then Vice-President Mike Richard Pence to, to reject electoral votes that voted against Trump in the process to certify them. Pence made it clear that this was impossible, and an uncontended Trump decided to make his opinion clear at a subsequent rally he was hosting (in the middle of a pandemic) in Washington D.C.

At the rally, he repeated unsubstantiated claims that the “election was stolen”, and, amongst other things, started inciting the crowd to storm the Capitol building and force Pence to overturn the results.

The subsequent riots saw Congressmen and Congresswomen fleeing for their lives, with security details escorting high-ranking officials, including Pence, who was presiding over the certification process in the Joint Session to safety. It took a few hours for the Capitol building to be fully secured by the security forces, and many of the lawmakers were clearly unhappy with what Trump had caused.

In record time, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives adopted a single Article of Impeachment against Trump on the charge of High Crimes and Misdemeanours, placing the blame of inciting the insurrection of the Capitol squarely on him. Due to the timing of the Impeachment, Trump became the first President of the United States to be tried for Impeachment after his term of office has ended.

Public opinion regarding the second impeachment of Trump is that of supporting his conviction, albeit only narrowly. Polls have shown that the margin of surveyees for conviction is similar to that of the first impeachment. In fact, for those that allowed for a third option of “neither”, the percentage of surveyees for and against conviction has decreased substantially, although a (very narrow) majority still wants to convict. Despite the actions of Trump, it seems that the public is still very polarised.

Now Happening: Impeachment Inquiry Against New York Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo

While on the topic of impeachment, it is timely to look at another case, though not of a President. This lesser known case of Governor Andrew Cuomo is an appropriate example to display how impeachment has continued to play out, even for other officials in the country besides the President. 

Recently, multiple allgeations of sexual harassment and unwanted advances have been faced by Governor Cuomo, a Democrat. In addition, another investigation has been called to look into the Governor’s alleged cover-up of nursing home deaths when the pandemic started. Amid the allegations, he has continued to assert that he has “never touched anyone inappropriately”, and that he would not resign the office, even as many top New York Democrats have pushed for his resignation. 

There are some differences between this impeachment and the Presidential impeachments that were detailed before. Mainly, the New York State Constitution does not define “impeachment”. While the US Constitution states that “high crimes and misdemeanours” are grounds for impeachment, the New York Constitution does not have any standard for impeachment, creating an air of ambiguity and the chance for political exploitation by both sides.

Besides, another key difference is that Cuomo would not be allowed to continue acting as governor during the impeachment proceedings, and can get back his authority only if acquitted at trial, whereas a US President can still exercise power after impeachment, as well as during the Senate trial.

Similarly, a simple majority vote (50%) is enough to pass the impeachment resolution against Governor Cuomo. With 106 of 150 seats in the New York Assembly controlled by Democrats (which Cuomo is a part of), it would certainly take some effort to reach the requirement to impeach the governor. Subsequently, even if the impeachment resolution was passed, a two-thirds supermajority would still be required to convict Cuomo in the New York Senate trial. Democrats control the Senate with a 43-20 majority. Even if all Republicans voted to convict the governor, 22 of the 43 Democrats (51%) would still be required to join in the conviction vote. Yet, this is extremely unlikely, considering the polarisation today.

Surprisingly, the public has a significant tolerance for the governor. 51% of 801 voters surveyed by the Siena College Research Institute said that Cuomo should not resign, while 37% said that he should. However, 57% of voters surveyed also mentioned that they would prefer voting for a different candidate in the next election, compared to 33% who would re-elect Cuomo. Similar to Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, the public largely believes that the person in question is  still able to perform his duties well despite the current ordeal. In fact, 60% of surveyed voters approved of Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic. As Cuomo himself notes, “Public opinion goes up, it goes down, but if you’re doing the job and people respect the job you’re doing, to me, there’s no more important barometer than that.”.

Conclusion

Through this two-part series, we hope that you have gained a better understanding of the idea of Impeachment, especially in the context of the United States of America. We also hope that we have brought you greater clarity into the political happenings that has been going on for the past few months in the USA.

References

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  2. Fandos, N. (2021, January 16). Pelosi holds Back impeachment article as House BUILDS CASE. Retrieved May 15, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/15/us/politics/pelosi-impeachment-house-senate.html
  3. Kirby, J. (2019, September 26). 6 key takeaways from the Ukraine whistleblower complaint. Retrieved May 09, 2021, from https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/9/26/20885060/whistleblower-complaint-ukraine-trump-impeachment
  4. Leatherby, L., Ray, A., Singhvi, A., Triebert, C., Watkins, D., & Willis, H. (2021, January 12). How a presidential rally turned into a capitol rampage. Retrieved May 15, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/12/us/capitol-mob-timeline.html
  5. McCarthy, T. (2020, February 05). Trump impeachment: President acquitted on both articles. Retrieved May 09, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/05/donald-trump-acquitted-senate-impeachment-trial
  6. McKinley, J., & Ferré-sadurní, L. (2021, March 24). Cuomo Could Be Impeached. Here’s How It Would Happen. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/article/cuomo-impeachment.html
  7. Merica, D., & Morales, M. (2021, March 13). Here is what the potential impeachment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo could look like. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/13/politics/andrew-cuomo-impeachment-explainer/index.html
  8. Nanos, E. (2021, March 12). An Impeachment of Andrew Cuomo Will Be a Giant Mess. Here’s Why. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://lawandcrime.com/legal-analysis/an-impeachment-of-andrew-cuomo-will-be-a-giant-mess-heres-why/
  9. Newport, F. (2020, January 24). Impeachment from the American public’s perspective. Retrieved May 09, 2021, from https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/284030/impeachment-american-public-perspective.aspx
  10. Russonello, G. (2021, February 09). Americans support Convicting Trump, but only narrowly. Retrieved May 15, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/09/us/politics/trump-polls-impeachment.html
  11. Schmidt, M. (2021, January 05). Trump says Pence can overturn his loss in Congress. that’s not how it works. Retrieved May 15, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/us/politics/pence-trump-election.html
  12. Vielkind, J. (2021, April 19). Most New York Voters Say Gov. Andrew Cuomo Shouldn’t Resign, Poll Says. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/most-new-york-voters-say-gov-andrew-cuomo-shouldnt-resign-poll-says-11618824606
  13. Wolf, Z. B. (2019, December 24). A technical argument is Trump’s new line of attack. Retrieved May 09, 2021, from https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/24/politics/impeachment-watch-december-23/index.html

Yglesias, M., & Prokop, A. (2020, February 06). The ultimate guide to the Donald Trump’s first impeachment. Retrieved May 09, 2021, from https://www.vox.com/2019/11/5/20914280/impeachment-trump-explained