Tan Ken Shin (22-A2)

I wish I knew how to let go of old habits better. In the first semester, I was extremely overwhelmed by the number of lectures and tutorials, and could barely keep up with the work. This is primarily because I assumed the methods I used in secondary school were enough to cope in JC, and how wrong I was. Of course, over time, I found my own pace and method of working which worked for me. Everyone’s method of studying is different, and so my advice is, to be more open-minded in trying different ways to do things, if I had been less stubborn and more willing to let go of my old habits, I would have adjusted to JC life faster. 

Naja Thorup Kristoffersen (22-A6)

Choosing your subject combination may seem like a daunting task, but fret not! There is plenty you can do to make it easier for yourself. First, look up the prerequisites for the various university courses you are interested in and take note of the subjects required. If you are not sure of the exact job you want yet, try to narrow it down to a field of study. Second, you can talk to your seniors, relatives or teachers and ask about their experience with the various subjects to get a better overall understanding. Most importantly, try to strike a balance between being practical about the future, and also picking the subjects you have an interest or passion for.  

Rebecca Yap (22-O1)

Personally, I would say go with what you’re interested in because learning what you love motivates you to persevere for the sake of your passion. But from a pragmatic perspective, you should definitely consider what would help you get to the course or job you would want to have in the future. It’s important to research the entry prerequisites for your favourite courses or scholarships you are applying for so you can take the best route to your end goal. Do approach your seniors for more insight into the different subjects EJ has to offer too. I’m sure they will be more than happy to help!

Vernice Tan (22-U1)

When it comes to subject combinations, the most important thing to note is where you want to go after A levels! Assuming you wish to pursue medicine for instance, H2 Math and 2 other H2 sciences will be required!  On the other hand, courses on social sciences and humanities may not require these prerequisites. I’m sure some people choose the science combination so as to prevent losing options later, however it is also very important to pick a subject combination that you won’t mind doing and are interested in.

At the A levels, all the subjects are equally difficult and require a lot of hard work. So, picking subjects that you actually enjoy is very important in doing well. 

Hao Rui (22-A4)

It may sound a bit cliche, but you really need to choose your subject combination based on your interests. You will be more self-motivated to study hard for subjects that you are passionate about, and you may also voluntarily look up things related to the subjects in your spare time. All these will help you to excel in your subjects and make your JC life less stressful and more enjoyable. 

Meanwhile, consider whether the workload of the subjects you intend to study is appropriate for you or not. If the subjects you want to study are mostly content-heavy, make sure you have the ability to manage your time well before you proceed to make the decision. After one year in JC, I must say that not having enough revision time before exams is common, especially in J1. Aside from studying the subjects you choose, Project Work and CCA work  will also take up a significant part of your time.

Alexia Teo (22-U1)

Friendships in any new environment can be confusing or stressful. JC is no exception! If you have any such emotions, don’t feel alone or afraid because it’s perfectly normal. One fact that may reassure you is that EJ provides plenty of ways for you to make friends. From orientation and class allocation right at the start of the year to various opportunities and interest groups as you venture through your 2 years, there are no shortage of ways for you to meet people. So, don’t be too worried about “clicking” with a group of friends. The beauty of JC is that there will always be friends to be made if you’re willing to try! The advice would be for you to try your best to go out of your comfort zone; don’t be afraid to go at something alone! You’ll definitely meet likeminded people along the way. Building something from scratch will take time and effort, and friendships are no exception. You may be skeptical if your JC friends seem very different from your secondary school ones but remember to trust in the process and I’m sure you’ll find some steadfast friends!

Naja Thorup Kristoffersen (22-A6)

I am sure you are all no stranger to school-induced stress, and unfortunately junior college is not likely to get any better in that department. I think two things are crucial when it comes to dealing with stress. Good time management and knowing when to take a break. Try to get as much work done in school between lessons and other free periods so you do not have to bring as much work home. Aim to prioritise revision from the get-go and work with your friends and help each other out when needed. The school also provides mental health days so do not hesitate to take one when you need one. Knowing when to rest is just as important as knowing when to put in the hard work. Being unreasonably hard on yourself will not do you any good so be kind to yourself and others and keep trying!

Sophia Chiang (22-O1)

EJ is home to a wide variety of Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) which are sure to make up a huge part of your time here! In your year as a member of your CCA, you’ll make new friends and have fun, growing alongside your fellow CCA mates! 

There are 3 general categories of CCAs in EJ. These are Sports & Games, Clubs & Societies and Performing Arts. The CCAs in these categories are listed below for your easy reference.

Sports & Games

Badminton, Basketball, Floorball (Boys), Hockey (Girls), Netball (Girls), Softball, Squash (Girls), Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Track & Field, Ultimate, Frisbee, Volleyball

Clubs & Societies

Computing & Robotics, Debate, Environment, Library, Media, Mind Sports, Outdoor Adventure Club (ODAC), Press, Service Learning, Visual Arts,

Performing Arts

Chinese Orchestra, Choir, Dance, Drama, Symphonic Band

Outside of these categories, there is the Student Council, which is made up of 5 committees – Communications, Culture, Welfare, Houses as well as the Secretariat. Acting as the voice of the student body, the Student Council is heavily involved in curating your EJ experience, making it an integral part of EJ’s culture.

In addition, EJ also has Student-Initiated Interest Groups (SIIGs) which you can choose to participate in on top of your CCA. This allows students to pursue their interests in even more areas during their time in EJ. The 9 SIIGs are listed below for ease of reference.

Student-Initiated Interest Groups (SIIGs)

Ambassadors, Chamber Strings, Earthlings, Ethos, Makerspace, Rock Band, Science (ScIG), Strategic Affairs, Street Dance

Note: list of SIIGs is subject to change (some of them are becoming CCAs this year I think).

Hao Rui (22-A4)

Since you will be working for your CCA for almost one and a half years, you need to choose something you are passionate about to make your future JC life enjoyable. Taking myself as an example, I really enjoy writing articles on topics that I like. However, I was very unsure if I should join Press back then. As a foreign student, I was not confident in my English ability, so I worried if I could do well in my CCA work. After one year in Press, I would say that I really enjoyed the time since I did things I am passionate about, and I am surrounded by a group of friendly people who share the same interest as me. Hence, I would conclude that you will be able to overcome all the challenges you once worried about as long as you follow your own passion.

Darius Chen (22-E4)

My favourite thing about EJ is the events that we have. Thanks to the efforts by our seniors, peers and teachers, we are able to enjoy a long list of activities and programmes that have helped us to create fond memories of EJ. Up to now, I still remember the exciting orientation activities. Of course, towards the end of the year, we also had Euphoria, where we were able to celebrate our peers’ achievements and bond as a class. There were also many other events like d-day and various House Signature Events that certainly helped us to relax and create memories with our friends. 

Sophia Chiang (22-O1)

Although this is different to every individual, for me, the core of my EJ experiences are the people. My classmates, friends and peers make every occasion full of life and laughter, and this makes my EJ experience so much better because sharing an experience is always better than having it alone. These incredible people also make the struggles of academics a little more bearable, which is essential amongst the academic rigour of JC. Additionally, EJ’s vibrant school culture, encompassing school events throughout the year such as Inter-House Games and Euphoria, amongst others, means that my school year is always charged with excitement and I have so many things to look forward to, which sets my JC experience apart from my peers from other JCs. These are the things I love so much about EJ, and these are the reasons that I am always proud to say I am from EJ!

Darius Chen (22-E4)

Other than the popular Mixed Rice and Western stalls, my personal recommendation for food in EJ is the Duck Rice stall. The food served here comes with a large portion of rice and meat (Roasted Duck, Char Siew and Roasted Pork), and is drizzled with dark sauce. Other than that, the cafe on level 10 also serves great food and drinks for quick snacks. My personal favourite is the Ham and Cheese Puff as well as the Sausage Puff, with these pastries guaranteed to fill your stomach. Do also try the drinks that they serve in the cafe!

Vernice Tan (22-U1)

Oh I have some recommendations for food around EJ! I think a lot of people tend to go to Junction 8, it’s a pretty obvious choice with the food court especially, but the choice of restaurants can be a little sparse. If you’re willing to spend a little more there’s a restaurant called Ambush with some student deals! 

AMK Hub is also a good pick with cheaper restaurants such as Takagi Ramen and Saizeriya along with a wide selection in the basement.

The cheapest and nearest option would be to head down to Bishan North which is only a 10 minute walk away. There are 2 different coffee shops to choose from! Get your drinks from the itea or Skytea there and make sure to give some attention to the Good Taste Chicken Rice if you go. Great name they’ve got.

Brandon Ng (22-E4)

Is your stomach growling but you don’t know what to eat? Here’s a recommendation!

Made by Masterchef SG Season 3 2nd runner-up, Azwandi ‘Andi’ Robani, his signature cheeseburger is a sure-try! Within the burger, the juicy, succulent beef smash-patty is topped with a melted cheese slice, doused with burger sauce (typically barbecue), accompanied with crunchy fresh lettuce and completed with 2 soft buns.

Made with love, the flavours are sure to overwhelm you the moment you bite into it. At an affordable price of $3.00, there is also the option of fries (+$0.50) with cheese sauce ($0.50). 

Alexia Teo (22-U1)

At EJ, we have a range of food choices for students to choose from! 

One recommendation to start you off would be our infamous duck rice. This could be a safer choice, before you venture off to try what else the canteen stalls have to offer, as the delicious dish is a popular favourite for many!

For spice lovers, your cravings can be satisfied at the Yong Tau Foo store. If mala isn’t your cup of tea, you can try the tom yum soup base or the mala base (available as soup or dry).

A relatively new but equally noteworthy addition to our school canteen is a stall offering burgers cooked by a (literal) masterchef, with a generous side of fries. How many can say they’ve eaten a Masterchef-worthy dish at their school canteen? Not many, but you could certainly be one of them! 

A good meal is incomplete without a beverage of your choice. Quench your thirst with a cup of milo or teh bing! Bottled and carton drinks are also available. 

Dig in and enjoy! 

Lye Jae Vir (22-I1)

There are many methods to start reading the school timetable, all correct but my way is the fastest. At first glance, you may be confused by what all these symbols mean. But fret not, I am here to help you read the school timetable. 

The first possible source of confusion may be the top letters. You may be wondering why you received different versions of your timetable. Well, the lettering at the top signifies the subject combination of that timetable. For example, LEM and LEm will have two different timetables because they differ in taking H1 or H2 Math – capitalised letters signifying H2 and vice versa. So just read the timetable that belongs to your subject combination. 

Another possible source of confusion might be all the different venues at the bottom of the rectangle thing. For example, your economics lecture might have LR2-AN8, LS3-AW9 and SR4A- AN5, all at the bottom. You may be thinking, so which one do I go to? Well, frankly, these venues mean nothing, to me at least. You’ll probably know the venue from other avenues, such as your teacher or subject representative. 

As a side note, you may be wondering what all these letters and numbers signifying venues mean. There is actually a fixed naming convention, but that is not within my area of expertise.

The second last major source of confusion may be all these white spaces. For example, while half of your class is having a chemistry lecture, the rectangle may be split in two. One half showing the lecture slot and the other being a blank space. Well, this means you have nothing going on and it’s a break. In fact, if you have no more lessons for the day and it is past 1 PM, you are legally allowed to just leave school. 

Finally, you may be wondering, what a PE Break slot means. Well, just treat it as a blank space that happens to be after PE. However, it’s meant to be a time for you to cool down, change into school attire and get to class. 

After reading and going through my tips and tricks, I hope that whatever initial struggles you may have had regarding the timetable have been resolved. With my guide, I am sure you will be an expert at reading the timetable in no time. 

Brandon Ng (22-E4)

Just received your timetable, but don’t know how to read it? Fret not! Here’s what you need to know.

The white spaces between periods are known as breaks, where you can spend time freely. Do spend it wisely though, like to get meals or explore the school with friends!

The lesson name is found on the top of each rectangle, while the venue can be found on the bottom.

For this lesson, the venue is the ECG room, while AS6 means the ECG room is located in “Block A, South Wing, Level 6”. 

These are the venues found around the school. Be sure to familiarise yourself with these places!

Tan Ken Shin (22-A2)

Euphoria: After the intense and strenuous PROMO examinations, get your sunblock and suntan lotion ready for a visit to the beach! The entire JC1 cohort is invited to Sentosa during Euphoria for a day of fun and games! Including water games, sand-castle building battles, and a dance party to end off the day! Euphoria is an unforgettable experience for every Eunoian, so be sure to look forward to it!

Leadership Camps: Should you decide to pursue leadership roles like a student councillor or class/CCA directorate, you will be able to attend 3 leadership conferences, and each is jam-packed with engaging activities that are bound to nurture your leadership talents as well as allow you to have a lot of fun! For example, Dragon Boating and Amazing Races! In addition, you will also receive leadership camp shirts that you get to keep, and you can wear them to school on Fridays!

Lye Jae Vir (22-I1)

While in Orientation, you may be wondering what awaits you throughout your first year in JC. You may be thinking that after the honeymoon period in the initial months, JC will just be doom and gloom. But fret not, there are actually many things one can look forward to. 

On the more noticeable end, EJ celebrates events like National Day or College Day with house events and musical concerts, a welcome respite from the routine. With sing-alongs and cheering crowds, these events will definitely be a core memory in your EJ experience. Moreover, occasions like Deepavali or Mid-Autumn Festival feature small pop-up booths that allow you to get a taste of different cultures – all for free. Another shake-up in the usual canteen experience. 

Other than these major school holidays, the student council also regularly organises events throughout the year to encourage fellow students to keep going. These can take on the form of movies in the auditorium after school or even photo booths with your friends. 

But, other than all these events, the key highlight for many students is Euphoria, organised by the student council. It takes place after all the examinations are done and dusted at the end of the year, something many students look forward to as a way to recharge and celebrate the end of J1. Euphoria features a day of activities at Sentosa – from a mass-rave by the beach to numerous activities with your class, Euphoria will definitely be the flagship event you can look forward to as you go through J1. 

With all these activities, I hope you do not regret ending up in EJC. More than that, I am sure these activities will be something that you can look forward to, forming core memories of your JC experience that I am sure you will look back upon fondly. 


Headers designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1), Cheng Zhi Shan (22-U1)

Formatting by: Rebecca Yap (22-O1)

Dealing With Burnout

Written by: Lok Qi Ern (22-O1)

Designed by: Angelica Chiw (22-I6)

As junior college students, we definitely aren’t strangers to long hours of studying with little to no rest. In the arduous and gruelling race towards the finish line, we often find ourselves evaluating all of our life choices and wondering why we get out of bed every morning, feeling disappointed and full of dread (and no, sending that ‘Time to drop out of JC’ sticker on Whatsapp is not the answer to your problems). 

In fact, this is a sign of disillusionment; a feeling of disappointment in something we once highly valued (our education), which is a telling sign of burnout. It’s the knowledge that we all worked extremely hard to be where we are now, only to find pressure and inevitably disappointment getting the best of us. Other symptoms can include lacking the energy to be consistently productive (aka feeling ‘tired’ ‘drained’ ‘sian’ all the time), changing sleep habits, finding it hard to concentrate, being easily irritable, and being troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints. If reading the aforementioned behaviours feels like scanning through the past (or ongoing) chapter of your life, tailor-written down to the last sentence, you are likely experiencing burnout. 

It is now important to clarify that burnout is not a medical diagnosis, though it has been known to be linked to depression. This does not make it any less serious of a condition, as many students are unaware that they are experiencing burnout, and do not take action before it gets out of hand. 

The good news is that there are several courses of action you can embark on to get rid of burnout! 

A crucial step to take is to set boundaries. When you’re not working, leave your work behind, Therapist Thornton says. As hard as it may seem, creating a physical and mental headspace to rest would allow us to disengage from the causes of stress, and be better prepared to take on the work with a clear mind. Of course, this works with sustained discipline. 

Additionally, engaging in sports and exercising might seem like a burden to some of us, but regular physical activity can even be, daresay, life-changing especially when coping with burnout. Physical activity improves brain health and reduces stress rates, leading to a clearer mind to approach work with a fresh mindset, and as we take small steps towards regaining interest in the work we do on the daily, we will perhaps regain satisfaction from learning. 

Confiding in loved ones and trusted adults is also important, along with building a strong support system that can detect when you are falling back into your habits and guide you back on track. We are, ultimately, social creatures, and having the support of other humans is extremely important. 

Change isn’t easy. It’s why we tend to fall prey to the beckoning comfort of old habits and addictions— sitting in your chair and binging that Netflix show to avoid thinking of your problems is always easier than going for a jog to clear your mind. But fret not, as identifying that one is experiencing burnout is the first and most important step to beating it. Press on, and as a wise man once said: people often say that motivation doesn’t last. neither does bathing— that’s why we recommend it daily 

Arts Appreciation in Singapore

Written By: Yam Lok Sum (22-A1)

Designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1)

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance.” 

~Henry James

Whether we notice it or not, the arts are an important part of the human experience. It simulates thought and reason and is known to have brought a revolution in many cultures. The arts also encourage the generation of ideas which allows viewers to draw their own emotions in their thoughts and pull from their personal experiences as they encounter them. As such, the arts are very powerful in this way as it naturally develops critical and innovative thinking skills in an individual. Many important qualities such as listening, observing and responding to multiple perspectives are also inculcated in the process. The question is, however, to what extent are the arts actually appreciated in Singapore, given our frequent emphasis on the sciences in our society today?

First, let’s dive right into the different forms of art and each of their specialities.

Visual Art

Visual art is an art form consumed primarily through sight, such as physical or static art objects. These include paintings, sculptures, drawings, crafts, photography, architecture etc. Some famous artworks that we are familiar with include the iconic painting ‘Mona Lisa’ and the Singapore Soul sculpture by Jaume Plesa on a more local scale, located in the prime area of Singapore, Raffles Place. The Singapore Art Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum and National Gallery Singapore are a few places where you can appreciate and dive into the great variety of visual art pieces displayed there.

Performing Arts

Performing arts is art that is performed in front of an audience. They include vocal and instrumental music, dance, theatre and drama. Performing arts are usually more interactive in nature compared to other types of art. Book your tickets to the Singapore Dance Theatre and the Esplanade to enjoy magnificent performances by our local talents! 

Literary Arts

Literary arts is art found in writing or stories that convey artistic and cultural value. They include poetry, literature, journalism, and non-fictional works. It is one of the oldest ways to preserve heritage and history and share information across generations. Many literary works have been recreated into plays and musicals over the years, such as ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl and ‘Wicked’ by Gregory Maguire which have both been well-received around the world. The Singapore Book Council and SingLit Station are ways in which Singapore is promoting literary arts by making it easily accessible to all. 

According to MMCY, in 2019, 69% of Singaporeans attended arts and culture events; 75% consumed arts through digital media, and 82% felt that the arts fostered a greater sense of belonging. Over the years, Singapore has also successfully established high quality and internationally regarded cultural institutions, such as the Esplanade and National Gallery Singapore. Together with highly respected educational institutions like the School of the Arts (SOTA), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), LASALLE College of the Arts, and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. These reflect that the arts are still relevant and appreciated in Singapore today. In addition, Our SG Arts Plan is a 5-year plan initiated by the National Arts Council which charts new directions for the various forms of art in Singapore. This initiative aims to energise and excite more Singaporeans, as well as bring together diverse communities through different art forms. It includes increasing support for freelancers, promoting Singapore art overseas, strengthening research in the arts sector and using technology in art-making and outreach. 

Singapore has a vibrant arts scene, home to a diverse range of established and emerging artists and arts groups that present distinctive works and programmes. Over the years, we have seen a growth in artists and arts groups including freelance practitioners, arts educators, arts managers, technical and production crew. With all the effort put in by the various communities in promoting arts appreciation in Singapore and the positive response from the public, it is safe to say that the arts are appreciated in Singapore to a large extent and even await for more opportunities to showcase our arts in the future.  

The Curious Case of Belgium

Written by: Lye Jae Vir (22-I1)

Design by: Rebecca Yap (22-O1)

The curious case of Belgium. When the name ‘Belgium’ is evoked, the images that come to mind are more often than not: Papa Smurf, Tintin and French Fries – assuming that is, if one knows it exists. But the purpose of this article is neither to raise the highlights of Belgian culture nor to emphasise its existence. Instead, the ‘curious case of Belgium’ showcases a more shocking and striking statement: The Question of Belgium’s Existence. 

At risk of giving the reader an initial impression of this article as overtly sensationalist and tabloid in nature, there is an immediate justification and rationale for asking this question. After the 2010 Belgian general election, the country was extremely politically fragmented, with no party able to form coalition governments due to general animosity between each other. In fact, no party won more than 20% of parliamentary seats, making the process of coalition-making even tougher as about three parties had to form a coalition. As a result, from 2010 – 2011, the country was unable to come together to form a government. Most significantly, Belgium now holds the record at 541 days for not having a government in peacetime because of this political impasse. However, this may further raise the question: What is the root cause of this political fragmentation? To understand this, the very underpinnings of Belgian society have to be dissected.

Depending on who you ask, the beginnings of Belgian divisiveness can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire. But for the sake of brevity, the history of Belgium will be conveniently excluded. 

The humble origins of Belgium’s fragmentation can be found within the convoluted mess that is the map below.

A divided country indeed

 (Credit: r/MapPorn)

In Belgium, the country is predominantly divided into two major regions: the Dutch-speaking Flanders in the North (in yellow) and the French-speaking Wallonia in the South (in red). Belgium practices ‘devolution’ or delegating more power to regional governments in this instance. If counted just by colour, there are at least four unique governments on top of the federal one. 

Besides the institutionalised political fragmentation of Belgium, there are a lot of other aspects of these divisions too. Economically speaking, Flanders happens to be a lot richer, which has made a lot of Flemish people view the less well-off Wallonia as a liability that only drains Flemish funds. But politics and economics aside, these divisions can be found in every-day life too.

Very evenly divided along linguistic lines 

(Credit: Wikipedia)

There are no national newspapers or television channels, even most political parties are only found in their respective regions. In some sense, the country is a loose federation of two nations barely holding onto each other. 

These divisions have manifested themselves throughout the country, permeating straight into the existential core of Belgium. With the country unable to form a national government in 2010-2011, many individual parties felt compelled to publicly consider partitioning Belgium. A French party from Wallonia even publicly held talks with France on a union between Wallonia and France. Currently, in Flanders, the leading party is also pro-independence. These sentiments were even echoed all the way up in the upper echelons of power. Then Belgian Minister for Climate and Energy, Paul Magnette, suggested partitioning Belgium if the political crisis escalated. 

With all these bits of new-found existential-level Belgian knowledge, one may be inclined to think that it should not exist. For Belgium’s sake, one may consider the view that a country this dysfunctional should just partition for the good of all its people within. Maybe it should, or perhaps Belgium could keep trudging on into the sunset of nationhood. But I am no political pundit – at least not yet – and I believe that a country this dysfunctional that is still able to produce the Smurfs possibly possesses the ability to find a way out of this situation.

But besides my personal views on whether Belgium should exist, one may be compelled to ask: What is the significance of this to me, the average Singaporean?

Belgium and Singapore are very far away from each other

(Credit: Google Earth)

Ignoring the poor cropping of the image, Belgium and Singapore seem worlds apart. Completely different continents, histories and contexts. But there are some parallels we can draw between the two, and maybe some questions we can pose to ourselves too. Belgium, a linguistically, culturally and socially diverse country with these differences antagonised to the point of dysfunction. Singapore, in the not so recent past, was not so different from our neighbour a world apart. Our nation had deeply-rooted cultural and societal differences, but the whole island still appears to be very much part of the same country. 

So what happened? 

Before I answer that question, some relevant questions can be raised. The curious case of Belgium allows us to gain, perhaps, a clearer and better perspective on what exactly is a state. Is it a unified language? Culture? Identity? 

In some sense, for Singapore, our answer to that was a common identity. Singapore took a different path at the crossroads, choosing to make national identity take primacy over all other identities. Rather than institutionalising differences like Belgium, Singapore chose to create an identity that resonated with people from any demographic. Learning English, pursuing Mandarin instead of the other Chinese languages, these actions helped us avoid what Belgium is facing today – a crisis of national identity; what it really means to be Belgian. 

To the reader, you may walk away with a newfound respect for our country, maybe even a rejuvenated sense of patriotism. If not, maybe a deeper understanding of a country you had no intention of thinking about and visiting whatsoever. Disregarding all these, I hope at least that this article helped you appreciate – even if only just marginally – the ‘curious’ in the curious case of Belgium. 


BBC. (2022, December 13). Belgium profile – media. BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17208922 

Connolly, K. (2020, October 3). Why Belgian struggle for identity could tear country apart. BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54378950 

The Federal Government. The federal government | Belgium.be. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.belgium.be/en/about_belgium/government/federal_authorities/federal_government 

r/mapporn – belgium’s regions explained. Reddit. (202AD). Retrieved  from https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/ojgc2x/belgiums_regions_explained/ 

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, November 21). Mass media in Belgium. Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_media_in_Belgium

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, November 7). Partition of Belgium. Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_of_Belgium Yglesias, M. (2014, June 30). The case against Belgium. Vox. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2014/6/30/5855352/the-case-against-belgium


Written by: Lye Jae Vir (22-I1), Nur Khairunnisa (22-I1), Tan Ken Shin (22-A2), Hao Rui (22-A4), Ignatius Lee (22-O5)

Designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1)

Welcome back to another edition of our monthly summary of the happenings around the world! From China’s successful satellite launch to changes in adoption laws, we have various interesting news summaries in store for you! Read on to find out more!


Britain’s Prime Minister 

Surely, you have come across the internet joke of a lettuce outlasting Liz Truss’s term as prime minister. Nonetheless, how much do you really know about the issues that she brought to the United Kingdom (UK), as well as what is to come? 

To start off, Liz Truss was appointed as prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II, after winning the elections marginally. Truss planned to boost the economy through various initiatives as well as cutting taxes.

After Kwasi Kwarteng, Truss’ finance minister, announced the biggest tax cut in the UK in half a decade, it was revealed that she had not consulted the Bank of England before proceeding. She had just put the UK into a greater fiscal deficit. 

She then proceeded to fire Kwarteng, stating that he had ‘serious misconduct’. Less than a week later, she delivered her famous ‘I’m a fighter, not a quitter’ speech. 

She announced her resignation the following day. 

As of now, Rishi Sunak, the UK’s first Asian prime minister, has been formally appointed by King Charles III. He has great responsibility ahead of him, especially the looming economic crisis. 

Who knows? Maybe Rishi Sunak is the answer to the UK’s instability. 

Bayonetta 3 Helena Taylor news

The highly-anticipated video game Bayonetta 3 has become embroiled in controversy after Hellena Taylor, the star voice actor of Bayonetta in the first two games, says she was offered just $4K to reprise her role in the upcoming instalment, which she called on fans to boycott.

On October 15th, Taylor posted a video on Twitter, a renowned social media platform, which detailed her experience with Nintendo and PlatinumGames, the lead game-developing companies of Bayonetta 3. She revealed that they offered to only pay her a measly $4K for her role in the game, and that Taylor’s appeal for a higher pay was rejected. Taylor also called on fans to boycott the release of the game.

This has made the issue of employee exploitation by large corporations even more prominent, and has encouraged many workers and voice actors to speak out about their experience with being underpaid, and convinced the masses to fight for higher wages. 

In response, PlatinumGames responded by showing legal documentation regarding Taylor’s actual pay, $15K,  which was much higher than the amount Taylor stated. Unfortunately, it was eventually discovered that Taylor’s statement was indeed false, which was also admitted by Taylor herself later on.

This sparked rightful outrage against Taylor on the Internet, with many accusing her of making speaking out against unfair treatment of workers a lot harder for the masses due to the distrust of victims. 

Despite PlatinumGames still offering Taylor a one-time cameo in the game, Taylor declined, and stated that she was going to move on from her voice acting career. As a result, PlatinumGames has now hired a new voice actor for Bayonetta, Jennifer Hale. 


20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

At the close of October, the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party concluded. This was set against the backdrop of the removal of the two-term limit put in place by Deng; a check on power to prevent a return to the chaos during the Cultural Revolution under Mao’s dictatorship. With Xi Jin Ping set to take up an unprecedented third term, the Congress saw a greater centralisation of power in the upper echelons of the Chinese government. The Chinese Politburo Standing Committee, the very core of government, has seen Xi’s loyalists fill up its seats, replacing many potential rivals.

On top of that, the Congress saw constitutional amendments that placed Xi and his ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ at the core of the party. Yet, with rising opposition to his zero-covid policy and a faltering economy, it remains unknown whether these actions will ensure Xi’s political supremacy. Till the next 21st National Congress. 


MAS Proposed Measures on Trade of Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency, also known as Digital Payment Token (DPT), is a digital, encrypted, and decentralised medium of exchange. It is a vital part of the development of Web 3.0, and has been made increasingly well-known to the public as technology giants are rushing into the market. The high profits in trading cryptocurrencies have attracted a huge volume of investors.

The local government has been very concerned with the trade of cryptocurrencies. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) referred to trading of cryptocurrencies reiteratively as ‘highly risky and not suitable for the general public’. After issuing guidelines to limit cryptocurrency trading service providers from promoting their services to the public in January, MAS wants to further tighten its regulation on the retail of cryptocurrencies to protect the public. It published two consultation papers this month regarding regulatory measures to reduce the risk of consumer harm from the trading of cryptocurrencies. One noticeable measure proposed is that retail investors may have to go through a risk awareness assessment before they are allowed to trade. The use of credit cards in the trades will also be disallowed in the trades once the proposed measures are put into force.

Sustainability Action Package

Officials in developing countries will be able to tap on Singapore’s experience in areas such as water resources management and food security through a series of courses she is introducing to address sustainability and climate change issues.

The courses in the newly introduced Sustainability Action Package will come under the broader Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP), which celebrates its 30th anniversary in October 2022.  Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that, “The package aims to help countries decarbonise and will include key areas of sustainability. By working collectively, we strengthen our ability to deal with the immense shared challenges of the future. And none of us can address these successfully alone.” At an MFA event, Dr Balakrishnan also mentioned that Singapore will also sponsor longer-term advisory projects in Southeast Asia, to deepen capabilities on sustainability in the region.

The SCP has been an important platform to enhance capacity-building and exchange development experiences over the last three decades. Globally, more than 150,000 government officials from 180 countries have attended workshops or courses under the programme set up in 1992 to bring together Singapore’s technical assistance efforts. About 88,000 are from ASEAN member states.


Baptista, E., & Yew, L. T. (2022, October 22). China’s XI further cements power as party congress closes. Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/world/china/chinas-communist-party-congress-closes-cementing-xis-status-core-2022-10-22/

Davidson, H., Graham-Harrison, E., & Yu, V. (2022, October 23). In Mao’s footsteps: Xi Jinping puts himself at core of China’s government. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/23/xi-follows-maos-footsteps-puts-himself-at-core-of-chinas-government

Kit, T. S. (2022, October 26). Retail investors to take risk test before cryptocurrency trading as part of proposed rules by Mas. CNA. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/cryptocurrency-trading-rules-retail-investors-risk-awareness-test-monetary-authority-singapore-stablecoins-3025996

Mas proposes measures to reduce risks to consumers from cryptocurrency trading and enhance standards of stablecoin-related activities. Monetary Authority of Singapore. (2022, October 26). Retrieved from https://www.mas.gov.sg/news/media-releases/2022/mas-proposes-measures-to-reduce-risks-to-consumers-from-cryptocurrency-trading-and-enhance-standards-of-stablecoin-related-activities

Autism in Singapore

Written by: Alexia Teo (22-U1) , Vernice Tan (22-U1), Jovielle Bruto (22-A2), Naja Thorup Kristoffersen (22-A6), Yam Lok Sum (22-A1) , Lok Qi Ern (22-O1)

Designed by: Hao Rui (22-A4)

What is autism? 

Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition affecting brain development that can be severe or mild. People with autism can find it difficult to communicate and form relationships and may show repeated or limited patterns of thought and behaviour. 

People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. Symptoms include difficulties with eye contact, not responding to their name, lack of gestures and facial expressions as well as getting upset by minor changes.  

Marginalisation of those with autism

People who have autism deal with discrimination and obstacles that deny them their rights as well as access to help. As a result, individuals with autism face marginalisation and poverty at disproportionate rates as compared  to others. 

The general public may have difficulties understanding the challenges faced by those with autism. For instance, people with autism may find it difficult to communicate their feelings and needs. This causes them to have seemingly extreme reactions to stressful situations. Hence, Singaporeans, who do not understand those with autism, often label them as “weird” and ostracise them from activities or groups. 

This form of discrimination, stemming from ignorance can stretch beyond social situations, affecting their opportunities  at school and work on a systemic basis. 

Employers, teachers and people with authority may discriminate against the label of autism without understanding the full extent of the individual’s capabilities. Employers may choose not to employ someone with autism due to the stigma attached to that label. 

Moreover, teachers may misunderstand the intentions of autistic students due to their lack of familiarity with the way they communicate and thus end up punishing them unfairly.

Processes like job interviews heavily favour those who are neurotypical. As a result, the chances of those with autism landing a job is often  determined by their ability to mask their autistic tendencies and appear as non-autistic as possible.

What structures are in place to help those with autism? 

In light of such difficulties, there exists  a need for external support. An example of this would be the measures in place for children diagnosed with autism. There are a variety of educational options available, mainly catering to children who can choose to attend customised curriculum or the national curriculum. 

Opting for the national curriculum would mean that children attend a mainstream primary school. Alternatively, children can choose to attend Pathlight School. Pathlight School is the first school in Singapore that specifically caters to the needs of those on the autism spectrum. Not only will students be taught the mainstream school curriculum, but they will also learn essential life skills and methods to overcome their differences. 

Pathlight school in Singapore 

Apart from the above measures, there are also other organisations in Singapore that assist children with autism. For example, the Autism Resource Centre Singapore is a charity started by a group of professionals and parent volunteers dedicated to serving children and adults on the autism spectrum to  lead meaningful and independent lives in society.

Other organisations  also include THK Autism Centre in Geylang Bahru and Eden Centre for Adults in Clementi and Hougang.

When it comes to integration into the workforce,  the Employability and Employment Centre (E2C) by the Autism Resource Centre offers services to assist people with autism to integrate more successfully into the working world. It also offers services for employers who are interested in hiring people with autism in their companies. By easing the hiring process of those with autism, employers are more motivated to them. 

What more can we do to help people with autism?  

Although there are currently some measures in place to smoothly integrate those with autism into society, there are still more ways in which we can further support them. 

Firstly, if we are in an appropriate position to give counsel – for instance, as a family member, or a friend, – we should make sure that they consult an appropriate specialist that is able to cater to their specific needs. This is because ASD  is a spectrum and people’s needs can vary from one person to another. 

For example, someone with autism may have difficulty communicating via speech. In response, these individuals are brought to specialists such as speech-language pathologists, who help them develop the ability to vocalise their thoughts. 

On the other hand, another person with autism could have virtually no issues with communication. However, they may have difficulty understanding social cues, which would require a different approach from a different set of specialists. 

Secondly, to accommodate a friend or family member with autism, we must strive to implement a predictable schedule and structure. This creates a sense of safety and stability that minimises feelings of anxiety or irritability, which may arise from inconsistency. This can offer great comfort to someone with autism.

Lastly, we should be wary of methods to help ease the burden created by sensory issues. People with ASD are hypersensitive and can get easily overwhelmed by the 5 senses. As a result, while in the presence of someone with autism, we must be conscious of how the environment around them may affect them.

Here are some ways to mitigate the effects of sensory overload: 

  1. Provide earphones to someone with autism when entering a noisy environment
  2. Install dim lighting 
  3. Refrain from using strong smelling perfumes or scents 

Overall, it is evident that those with autism face great difficulties in performing even normal daily activities, like moving around loud spaces or navigating social situations. Hence, it is essential to be aware of their needs as well as take action to accommodate for their differences to create a more inclusive society. 


Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. (n.d.). Autism. Retrieved from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/autism?q=autism

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, March 28). Signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html

Goh, Y. H. (2022, May 27). Living with autism: She loves social media and make-up but struggles with talking to herself. The Straits Times. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/living-with-autism-she-loves-social-media-and-make-up-but-struggles-with-talking-to-herself

Hoo, L. (2021, August 18). A complete list of schools for children with autism in Singapore. A Complete List of Schools For Children with Autism In Singapore. Retrieved from https://www.homage.sg/resources/autism-school-singapore/

Menon, M. (2022, April 3). More can be done to support adults with autism, says parent. The Straits Times. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/more-can-be-done-to-support-adults-with-autism-says-parent

Autism Resource Centre (Singapore). (2022). Retrieved from https://www.autism.org.sg/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Autism spectrum disorder: Communication problems in children. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/autism-spectrum-disorder-communication-problems-children

Sick Beats – Christmas Edition

Written by: Angelica Chiw (22-I6), Ashley Chean (22-O1), Benedict Keng (22-U3), Brandon Ng (22-E4), 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: Angelica Chiw (22-I6), Benedict Keng (22-U3), Brandon Ng (22-E4), 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)


Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is just 12 days away and what better way to celebrate than with Christmas carols! As we celebrate the season of giving, we are giving back to you, our beloved readers, an advent calendar of Christmas jingles. Featuring both classic and modern tunes, we present you with 12 tunes for each day leading up to Christmas. 

December 14th – It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

Originally written in 1951 by Meredith Wilson, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas prompts listeners to immerse themselves in the merry sights and spirits of a town preparing for Christmas. From descriptions of ‘candy canes and silver lanes’ to ‘toys in every store’, one can delightfully imagine themselves being transported to a winter wonderland, all the while anticipating the start of Christmas. As a song that can put you in the mood for festive celebrations, we hope that you will tear yourselves away from the dreariness of rainy seasons and enter a new season, with hot chocolate in your hands!

December 15th – Last Christmas

Upon its initial release in 1984, “Last Christmas” spent five consecutive weeks at number two on the UK Singles Chart. Although it was never number 1, it is the number 1 Christmas song in my heart. Earlier in 1984, Michael had broken Wham! free of their exploitative recording contract. He then began taking complete creative control of his musical output. From synths to sleighbells, he wrote, played, produced and recorded every note of “Last Christmas”. Its groovy and danceable instrumental along with its lyrics detailing a Christmas heartbreak makes it a certified classic. 

December 16th – Joy

Joy is a digital single released by NCT Dream in 2017. Combining classics like Joy to the World and Jingle Bells, NCT Dream seamlessly weaves together these songs to form an entirely new and unique song, with rap elements in place as well. If you feel like listening to old-time classic Christmas songs with added twists, or if you are a huge fan of K-pop, this song is definitely for you. The upbeat melody and catchy lyrics of this song is sure to hook you in, and we hope that your Christmas (and the rest of the year) is filled with joy!

December 17th – Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad. Surely you sang that out loud, right? Released in 1970, this timeless classic needs no introduction. Comprising only 4 lines and 19 words, the joyful, upbeat melody coupled with the heartfelt vocals of Puerto Rican singer, José Feliciano, delivers the message that is the song’s title, Feliz Navidad, which means Merry Christmas in Spanish. The song birthed from Feliciano’s loneliness and homesickness, as he spent Christmas away from home, reminiscing times when he would spend the holidays drinking and carolling with loved ones. Singing along to this song will have you wishing your loved ones a merry Christmas from the bottom of your heart!

December 18th – Christmas Wrapping

A Holiday Spotify Single from jawny, Christmas Wrapping is a modern Christmas song. With just over a million streams on Spotify, it is a Christmas beat that many have not heard of. However, the upbeat and exciting melody of the song is guaranteed to hook you in for the whole duration of the song. Reminiscent of the melody of Christmas Classics, it also ties in a modern element to it, making it a unique Christmas tune. “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, but I think I’ll miss this one this year.” While it may not be Christmas yet, we hope you have a memorable Christmas!

December 19th – Christmas Saves the Year

Their first Christmas single, Twenty One Pilots released Christmas Saves the Year in 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic and major hardships that had occurred throughout that year. The band sings of how everyone longs to be with family and friends during Christmastime, referencing typical Christmas traditions with the lyric “everybody’s got somebody who’s got their name on a shelf”, referring to the practice of hanging a stocking with your name on it on a shelf during Christmas. Ultimately, the song talks about how Christmas brings joy with it no matter how difficult the year has been, and that the celebration is a source of comfort in trying times because of its message of hope and family. As you listen to this song, we hope you cherish the time spent this holiday with friends and family!

December 20th – Baby It’s Cold Outside

The jazzy, relaxed feel of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” paired with the smooth, thick vocals of Idina Menzel and Michael Buble is the perfect welcome to the joyous, bubbly Christmas season, as we draw closer to Christmas. The classic, well-loved Christmas singers collaborate together on this romantic, deep red piece, perfectly complimenting each others’ warm, luscious tone. This song is perfect to curl up in an armchair and fantasise about an icy cold, cosy Christmas that unfortunately, we would probably never get to experience. We hope you enjoy this light, flirtatious piece as much as we do!

December 21st – I’m Gonna Be Loved – This Christmas

Although one tends to associate Christmas with winter and snow, this isn’t a reality for most of us, as we spend our Christmases in sunny Singapore. Local favourites The Sam Willows thus present a Christmas song with a Singaporean twist, singing of a Christmas we are all too familiar with, including lyrics such as ‘you dreamed of snow but you were born where snow is on TV’. The lyrics also talk of a simple Christmas with little physical gifts, but filled with dreams, magic, hope and love, conveying what the band believes is the true meaning of Christmas. We hope as you listen to this song you learn to love Christmas on our sunny island nation as well, cherishing the time you spend with family and friends!

December 22nd – Christmas Tree Farm

Christmas Tree Farm is an upbeat yet heartwarming Christmas song which is made relatable to many people as they can connect to it on a more personal level. Written by Taylor Swift, this song reminisces the nostalgic memories of a childhood Christmas. In the music video, viewers are taken back to the past through the lens of Taylor Swift as they witness the festivities of her childhood and understand her Christmas experience on a more intimate level. This song embeds musical elements of pop and seasonal tunes that keeps you wanting  more! With this song to listen to so near Christmas, you are for sure to get into the festive Christmas mood! 

December 23rd – Underneath the Tree

Despite the wide range of Christmas tunes in Kelly Clarkson’s catalogue, Underneath the Tree is a classic Christmastime staple. Especially with its upbeat chorus and catchy high notes throughout the entire song, which is different from most traditional Christmas songs, this hit has charted on the Hot 100 every year since its release, further cementing Clarkson’s status as a singer with true vocal prowess and with the ability to release hit after hit. Here’s hoping you sing your heart out to this song, and have all your wishes fulfilled underneath the tree! Have a very merry day before Christmas Eve!

December 24th – Rockin Around the Christmas Tree

‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’, a classic released in 1958 by Brenda Lee brings cheerful holiday fever every December. Did you know that it is often mistaken as a Justin Bieber single as his cover of this two-minute hit song went viral? Even after around six decades, this remains as Brenda’s signature song. It is a chart-topper and the appeal energises listeners, making them feel like dancing. She was only 13 when she recorded this song and made one of the most famous Christmas hits of all time. It is surely one of the best Christmas songs that immediately encompasses you with warmth and spirit! You should definitely listen to it this Christmas! 

December 25th – All I Want For Christmas is You

And finally, for the grand day itself, we recommend the all-time classic — ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’! Released in 1994 by Mariah Carey, it has since become a staple for every Christmas playlist and has made the charts every single holiday season. Honestly, if you haven’t heard of this song, you’ve probably been living under a rock! Starting with an iconic series of xylophone notes chiming, the song opens with a soulful tune from Carey that would make even the meanest of Grinches want to sing along. The song continues with a catchy beat backed by the jingle of sleigh bells, immersing everyone into the spirit of Christmas almost immediately. In fact, this song is so hypnotically Christmas-y that it has broken the Guinness World Record in 2020 for ‘Most streamed track on Spotify in 24 hours’! Although overtaken by Adele’s ‘Easy On Me’ in 2021, with the help of our wonderful readers (yes, you!) we could help rocket the queen of Christmas music to the top once more! Merry Christmas!


With that, we have come to the end of our 12 Days of Christmas! We hope that you’ll have a holly jolly Christmas listening to our songs and have a Happy New Year!