¿?sick beats?¿ September 2021 Edition

Designed by: Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1)

$ilkmoney – My Potna Dem 

$ilkmoney definitely rose to fame with his hit “My Potna Dem” that was used for a trend where people used sign language to mime out his lyrics. The chorus contains alphabets and numerals, like “DBSB 3272” and “GLOBEABB” to a consistent drum beat. Its popularity can be attributed to the challenge of the trend since hand-eye coordination is necessary to do the actions. 

Arizona Zervas – Roxanne

The release of this undoubtedly catchy single in 2019 became an instant Tiktok anthem, generating 2.3 million videos with it to date. It is a pretty typical pop song that can latch on to listeners’ minds. The song itself sounds personal with specific details like how this girl named Roxanne behaves and feels, as well as the singer’s relationship with Roxanne. A fun song that is easy to dance to, this became ingrained in people’s minds and will probably be remembered for quite some time.

Masked Wolf – Astronaut in the Ocean 

A hip-hop song with a catchy beat that people have danced to on YouTube soon became an internet meme especially on TikTok. While the song was gaining popularity, some creators have stepped out to say that the song was corny and “felt like what a 10 year old boy at the gym would listen to”. Soon after, the chorus was edited to become distorted which resulted in the song becoming a viral meme. There are obviously two teams here, with those vibing hard with its energetic, twangy notes at the start and those cringing at it. No matter what, the song still is successful for the previously unknown Australian rapper for topping charts especially in Eastern Europe.

Little Simz – Venom 

The latest TikTok trend where this sound was used as a form of woman empowerment definitely made this song rise up the charts. The lyrics lament about how in a modern patriarchal society, men do not celebrate women’s successes. This message resided with many women who then took this opportunity to use the sound and empower themselves. 

Dance Monkey- Tones and I

Dance Monkey was released on 10 May 2019 and topped music charts in numerous countries. The tune itself was award-laden and even peaked at fourth in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The genre of music was electropop, not only was the tune catchy, so was the lyrics. The song featured in a variety of Tiktok videos, but dance choreographies allowed the song to blow up on Tiktok. Recently, in one Korean Music Show, hip-hop singer Jessi sung a cover of the song and it blew up immediately, proving the song’s sustained popularity.

Peaches- Justin Bieber ft Daniel Caesar, Giveon

Of course! Another hit from Justin Bieber. A recent song released on 19 March 2021, topped charts all over the world. The lyrics aimed to pay tribute to his precious wife, Hailey and wishes for their long lasting romance. He even collaborated with Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Usher for a remix, with each verse changed. The music itself was indeed a lyrical masterpiece that took the tiktok platform by storm.

Someone You Loved- Lewis Capaldi

This single has held top charts in seven non-consecutive weeks and even gained popularity in the US from London. It held pole position in the Billboard Hot 100 in late October and November 2019. It talks about the heart wrenching breakup of his that captured the attention of audiences in UK and US. This heavy emotional content was what some people subscribed to. However, this song had no link with tiktok until remix was made, sounding similar to Hawaii beach music, allowing people to choreograph dance moves filled with heartbroken emotions, while becoming the staple dance of married couples.

Skechers- DripReport Prod. OUHBOY

Possibly classified as a meme song, this song invited many variations of dance and even relatable skits. The track was released in January 2020, and has gained over 1 billion streams on tiktok. It allowed the Skechers brand to advertise their shoes, and gave many tiktokers a platform to express their creativity with their own take on the music.

References:

  1. Australian rapper MASKED Wolf’s Depression SONG “Astronaut in the Ocean” is our Latest tiktok meme HIT, SOMEHOW. Stereogum. (2021, February 17). https://www.stereogum.com/2116514/australian-rapper-masked-wolfs-depression-song-astronaut-in-the-ocean-is-our-latest-tiktok-meme-hit-somehow/columns/status-aint-hood/
  2. Perry, C. (2021, July 20). The 21 BEST Tik tok songs of all time. Teen Vogue. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/best-tik-tok-songs
  3. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/57EG9lWmdn7HHofXuQVsow?si=v_Dy0QmbQmGfNOTYZ3Pr7g&utm_source=copy-link&dl_branch=1

AAA #33

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

Q1: I hope I don’t flunk my exams. I try not to have expectations but I subconsciously do and I end up disappointing myself when I don’t meet them. What should I do? 

Hi there! Aunt Agatha hears you, we’re sure this is a common sentiment amongst many students and we would like to offer you some advice!

Before anything else, we understand that as a student, it may seem that grades are everything. Those letters on our results slip seem to define us, but we must remember to remind ourselves time and time again that they do not! Who you are as a person is much much more than how many marks you score on a test, and how many ‘A’ grades you obtain. 

Next, having expectations for yourself is not necessarily a bad thing, but do make sure that the goals you set are realistic so that you don’t unnecessarily disappoint yourself. ! It’s impractical to expect to jump from a ‘U’ grade to an ‘A’ grade almost immediately, so try to take it one step at a time. This way, you will find yourself less stressed and it will also be a lot easier to cope in the long run. Reaching these goals will also be much easier, and these short-term, realistic goals will provide you with small boosts of motivation on your journey to reaching your long-term goals!

Last but not least, Aunt Agatha would like to assure you that it is only the Mid-year Examinations, and that there are many other opportunities for you to pick yourself back up. For now, celebrate the good results and don’t be too disheartened by the bad, and we wish you all the best!

Q2: Blended learning has been quite challenging for me as the workload is usually a lot bigger than normal school days. How do I cope with the workload and manage my time better at home?

Hey there! A lot of us are probably in the same situation right now and I understand that it can be hard to get used to Blended Learning, especially for those of us who prefer a fixed schedule and are used to our campus’ study environment. Aunt Agatha hears you and is here to give you some advice! 

Firstly, to improve your concentration at home, you can create a study space to stay organised. Most times, many students find it hard to focus on online lectures or meetings because they do not have a consistent workspace to study routinely. As a result, they tend to be distracted and lose productivity. Thus, you might want to establish a regular study space, whether it be a study table in your room, a countertop or even the living room table! 

Next, you can practice time management by creating a weekly schedule to follow. You can designate certain hours of the day to certain subjects and you can also set frequent reminders on your phone to stay on track! I know first-hand that this is easier said than done because I, too, find it quite challenging to follow timetables without anyone’s supervision. However, if you stay consistent and persevere through all your impulses to diverge from the schedule, it is possible to train yourself to follow it closely! 

Lastly, I would like to end off by saying that practice makes perfect! As long as you stay consistent and follow a schedule that suits you, you will definitely grow accustomed to Blended Learning. Good luck! 

Q3: With promos/prelims right around the corner, how can I plan my time such that I can get the most out of my revision, without burning out too quickly?

Hello there, Aunt Agatha here! Don’t worry, that is a problem many students commonly face with such a large scope for the end of year exams. Naturally, you would need to plan for your revision wisely to maximise your learning!

Firstly, your revision plans need to be detailed! Do plan out down to the exact chapter you are going to revise or the specific pages or topics of the practice questions. Of course, you would also need to allocate a time slot for every separate task you aim to complete! Even if you are unable to complete your pre assigned task within that time frame, just continue on to what was next on the list, instead of letting it snowball.

Secondly, always remember to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, to ensure you never burn out in this season of revision. For example, you could plan for short breaks spread out across the day, giving you consistent mental breaks to ensure you can continue working productively! Do remember to exercise regularly, try a quick jog in the morning or stretching before bed, and don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated. We cannot stress how important it is to keep yourself healthy in this stressful period, which helps boost your morale and keep your energy levels up throughout the day!

Overall, these are some little but helpful habits that you could cultivate whenever exam season rolls around. Do remember to customise your schedule to fit yourself best and allocate time to pursue your interests!

Q4: Since coming to JC I’ve been falling behind in my academics even though I’m studying the same way I did when I was scoring well in secondary school. I’m starting to lose motivation and focus; what should I do? 

Hi, Aunt Agatha knows what you mean! Entering this new phase of your life means that many things will be changing, and study methods are likely to be one of them. Because the way the syllabus is structured is different and the content taught is more challenging, it is not uncommon for students to have to switch up their study methods to keep up with their academics. 

You need to remember that pure memorisation will no longer get you far. Maybe it is time to gain some deeper insight on what you are studying, so that you can better understand the workings behind the content presented to you. This can help you formulate more insightful responses to the questions in exams, and also be able to link various concepts together better! If you are unsure how to begin, you can start by reviewing your notes and jotting down areas that you are unsure of, and follow up by consulting a teacher or external tutor. If you have friends whom you know are well-versed in the topic, you can approach them too! Who knows, they might be able to explain it to you in a way that you understand more easily than if you consulted a teacher. 

Feeling worried that  your old study methods are no longer working the same as they used to is completely normal! Changing study methods might seem daunting, but don’t give up! If you’re feeling discouraged, try talking to some friends about it, and maybe even create a study group! Whether face-to-face or virtual, study groups can help your motivation, as well as hold you accountable. 

Ultimately, find a study method that suits you best (that is not just pure memorisation!) and stick to it! If you’re concerned that it might not be suitable for school, you can review your study plan with a teacher, and ask them if it is feasible. All the best for your exams; you got this!

A Brief history of Probability

Written by: He Jizhao (21-U5)

Designed by: Katelyn Joshy (21-U1)

At 11 pm, Andy was still struggling with his probability assignment. Scratching his head, he murmured to himself, “Huh? When should I multiply and when should I add the two results? It’s so confusing! I don’t get it!” Frustrated by such insurmountable math problems, Andy wondered why he was studying probability in the first place…

Probability is often deemed by many as a subject that cannot be applied in real life. This might not be the case, however. Allow me to show you the true prevalence of probability in our lives and hopefully, help you to appreciate its beauty too! 

All incidents that seem to occur based on “luck” can be explained using a probability model. Think about it- small examples in daily life, such as the probability of getting a multiple choice question correct or the probability of two persons in a class having the same birthday, can be obtained using a probability model. Probability was actually invented to explain the supposedly “lucky” incidents we come across in our lives. However, the development of probability may not be what you have imagined for other branches of mathematics like number theory, whose development is initiated and continued by mathematicians.

Photo credit: Statistics Teacher

Delving into a bit of history here- what if I told you that the development of probability was not initiated by mathematicians, but by gamblers?

A gambler’s dispute in 1654 led to the creation of probability by two famous French mathematicians, Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat. Chevalier de Méré, a French nobleman with a keen interest in gaming and gambling issues, called Pascal’s attention to an apparent contradiction concerning a popular dice game. 

The game consisted of throwing a pair of dice 24 times; the problem was to decide whether or not to place a bet on the occurrence of at least a “double six” out of the 24 throws. A seemingly well-established gambling rule led de Méré to believe that betting on a double six in 24 throws would be profitable. Unfortunately, his calculations indicated the very opposite. This particular problem, along with other questions posed by Mere led to an exchange of letters between Pascal and Fermat. This was exactly how some of the most fundamental principles of the theory of probability came about!

The theory that Pascal and Fermat developed is known as the classical approach to computing probabilities. The theory states that- if we suppose a game has ‘n’ equally probable number outcomes, out of which ‘m’ outcomes correspond to winning, the probability of winning is m/n.

A Dutch scientist, Christian Huygens, learned of this correspondence and shortly (in 1657) published his first book on probability thereafter; titled ‘De Ratiociniis in Ludo Aleae’. Given the appeal of gambling at that time, this probability theory spread like wildfire and developed rapidly during the 18th century. Two mathematicians, namely Jakob Bernoulli and Abraham de Moivre, contributed significantly to the development of probability in this period. Moreover, throughout the 18th century, the application of probability moved from games of chance to scientific problems like the probability of being born female or male.

In 1812 Pierre de Laplace (1749-1827) introduced a host of new ideas and mathematical techniques in his book, Théorie Analytique des Probabilités. Laplace applied probabilistic ideas (yes, that is a word) to many scientific and practical problems. The theory of errors, actuarial mathematics, and statistical mechanics are examples of some of the important applications of probability theory developed in the 19th century. 

However, an unprecedented period of stagnation and frustration soon followed. By 1850, many mathematicians found the classical method to be unrealistic for general use and attempted to redefine probability in terms of frequency methods. Unfortunately, these attempts never grew into fruition and the stagnation continued. In 1889, the famous Bertrand paradox was introduced by Joseph Bertrand to show that the principle of indifference may not produce definite, well-defined, results for probabilities if it is applied uncritically when the domain of possibilities is infinite.

Here we are, now in the 20th Century, where mathematicians seem to find new light amidst the stagnation. In 1933, A. Kolmogorov, a Russian mathematician, outlined an axiomatic approach that forms the basis for the modern theory. He built up a probability theory from fundamental axioms in a way comparable with Euclid’s treatment of geometry. Since then, his ideas have been refined and probability theory is now part of a more general discipline known as measure theory.

References:

Bertrand paradox (probability) – Wikipedia. En.wikipedia.org. (2021). Retrieved 16 June 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_paradox_(probability)

Staff.ustc.edu.cn. (2021). Retrieved 16 June 2021, from http://staff.ustc.edu.cn/~zwp/teach/Prob-Stat/A%20short%20history%20of%20probability.pdf

概率在生活中的应用. Xzbu.com. (2021). Retrieved 16 June 2021, from https://www.xzbu.com/1/view-5695902.htm

The Activision Blizzard Lawsuit: A Storm of Controversy

Written by: Aaron Wong Jielun (21-I4), Elizabeth Khoo Yuk Min (21-U1), He Jizhao (21-U5), Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1), Rakshita Murugan (21-E1), Tiew Zuo Yuan, Richard (21-I2), Zuo Yuning (21-A1)

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

Introduction 

Does the considerable success of a company excuse it to overlook workplace discrimination? It seems that the pursuit of success for such corporate giants seems more important and therefore outweighs the importance of shaping a just workplace, and it is thereby hard to pick a side in the case of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. Activision Blizzard Inc. is an American video game company, and if there is one thing you know about them, it is their Call of Duty series. But what exactly happened and what does this reflect about the video game industry as a whole? 

The Lawsuit 

The backlash against Activision Blizzard began with a lawsuit filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The lawsuit not only alleged a “frat boy” work culture, where multiple female employees were subjected to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and unequal pay, but also that “the company’s executives and human resources personnel knew of the harassment and retaliated against women who complained”.

In the wake of the lawsuit, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack emailed company staff, acknowledging that the behavior detailed in the suit was “completely unacceptable.” Activision President Rob Kostich then followed up by emailing staff calling the allegations “deeply disturbing” and saying that Blizzard “take[s] every allegation seriously.” Meanwhile, several videos regarding statements made by Blizzard executives promoting sexualisation of women went viral on Twitter, further adding to the criticism against the work culture at the company. However, Activision Blizzard chief compliance officer Fran Townsend instead claimed that the lawsuit’s allegations were “distorted and untrue”. 

Then, on 26 July, over 1000 current and former employees signed an open letter to management, calling Townsend’s statement “abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for.” On the same day, Activision held an “all-hands” meeting, though only with 500 staff. Executives tried to address the lawsuit, though statements were again filled with cliches such as that there is “zero tolerance” for the work culture alleged in the lawsuit. 

Since then, the World of Warcraft team has announced that it would remove references from the game that would come across as inappropriate while many executives have decided to leave the company. Employees also held a walkout at the Blizzard Headquarters on 28 July, while more joined in the work stoppage, criticising executives for their lack of efficacy in managing concerns voiced out by employees. 

Since the initial lawsuit and netizen’s calls to boycott the company, many other firms such as Kellogs, Coca-Cola and T-Mobilehave withdrawn their sponsorships with the Overwatch League, including Kelloggs, Coca-Cola and T-Mobile. Prior to the scandal, such companies were active in promoting their products over the league. Not only were there advertisements for such products, the signature red Coca-Cola cups were also placed next to commentators for the game. Undoubtedly, sponsorships were one of the biggest parts of revenues for the company. 

The Video Game Industry – The Ugly 

This putrefying treatment of women in the workplace is but a microcosm of the gaming industry’s attitude towards women. A mere review of the mainstream video games shows that female characters are more often than not, portrayed as subordinate, docile and hypersexual counterparts to the strong and dominant protagonistic male characters with recurring trends of crunch, gender discrimination, racism, toxicity, corporate greed. It is blatantly obvious that despite women taking up about 32 percent of all gamers in the gaming industry, the company’s leadership remains insular and “tone deaf” to the calls of female gamers to counter sexist stereotypes as seen in the 2010 Blizzcon viral video. Also, the majority of workers out of the core gaming culture perceive itself as a boy’s club, influencing the game industry culture to perpetuate an insidious cycle of sexism. Evidently, the unregulated boy’s club culture of silence, complicity and the enablement of toxic behaviour is deeply entrenched and makes it extremely unwelcoming for women.

The Video Game Industry – The Good

Despite all the controversies that have surfaced, humanity still shines in certain areas of the gaming industry. Humble Bundle, a digital storefront that prices bundles of multiple games at modest starting prices under a ‘pay-what-you-want’ model, is the antithesis to the all too common predatory pricing practices many game companies employ. Going beyond just being consumer-friendly, they also donate portions of their proceeds to charities. Other gaming companies have also helped charitable causes before, such as 343 Industries and Games for Change, just to name a couple.

In terms of work conditions, as the spotlight has increasingly shone on the plight of burnt out and mistreated employees in the game industry in recent years, companies have been changing their ways, and work conditions have steadily improved. On the side of the employees, unionisation efforts have been stepping up, further pushing video game companies for better conditions. Game Workers Unite, an organisation founded in 2018 that has grown to over a thousand members across the world, has been a driving force for unionisation, organising awareness campaigns and building relationships with existing unions.

With all that said, as a multi-billion dollar industry with over hundreds of thousands of workers, more certainly needs to be done at a faster pace. 

Conclusion

Discrimination and sexual harrassment against women in the workplace has always been an issue. However, it is still disappointing to face yet another case of such behaviour. Moreover, this hardly comes as a surprise as the video game industry has long been facing allegations of toxic workplace practices especially in relation towards women. In studying this lawsuit, it is thus hard to look at it as an isolated case but rather a symptom of the entire industry’s culture and standards. As the scandal and lawsuit itself is still unfolding, we await to find out if not only the company itself, but the industry will be held accountable for their behaviour. 

Looking at the situation broadly, perhaps as consumers, we can ever so slightly steer change in a positive direction through our personal decisions: by supporting the games of companies trying to make a difference, while boycotting and speaking out against the companies with reprehensible practices.

References 

  1. Matt T.M. Kim. (2021, August 6). Embattled Activision Blizzard Executive Steps Down as Women’s Network Sponsor. IGN Southeast Asia; IGN Southeast Asia. https://sea.ign.com/news/175127/embattled-activision-blizzard-executive-steps-down-as-womens-network-sponsor 
  2. Fenlon, W. (2021, August 3). Everything that’s happened since the Activision Blizzard lawsuit went public. Pcgamer; PC Gamer. https://www.pcgamer.com/activision-blizzard-lawsuit-controversy-timeline-explained/‌ 
  3. Matt T.M. Kim. (2021, August 6). Embattled Activision Blizzard Executive Steps Down as Women’s Network Sponsor. IGN Southeast Asia; IGN Southeast Asia. https://sea.ign.com/news/175127/embattled-activision-blizzard-executive-steps-down-as-womens-network-sponsor 
  4. Rishi Iyengar, C. (2021). The Activision Blizzard lawsuit could be a watershed moment for the business world. Here’s why. CNN. Retrieved 7 August 2021, from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/03/tech/activision-blizzard-employee-backlash-kotick/index.html
  5. Peckham. (2020) https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/21/confronting-racial-bias-in-video-games/