You’re Miss-ing Out! (Part 1)

Did you know about feminism is a taboo topic in South Korean society? Let’s uncover the reasons why in this article.

Written by and designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)

 “I don’t like the women at my workplace,” my mother told me. “I don’t like feminism; it’s affecting society and women,” was what she later added on.

 A Personal Paradox

 

   As a young girl, I felt extremely wronged and upset when I brought up the feminism movement to my own mother and brother. Spending four years in an all-girls school truly fueled my passion and interest towards this social movement. This did not just apply to me, but to many of my friends too. 

  So I did not think much when I first mentioned feminism to my family and I told them that I was a feminist. The replies from them were not at all what I have imagined. 

  “I don’t like the women at my workplace,” my mother told me. “I don’t like feminism; it’s affecting society and women,” was what she later added on. The comments from my brother was not kind either, but to hear such words fall out of my mother’s mouth – an adult woman living in the same society I am living in, made a part of me crumble and disintegrate as the words sunk deep beneath my skin and started eating me from the inside. I felt betrayed as I tried to hold onto my beliefs. 

  But I knew that my grasp had loosened somehow.   

 

How is it different?

 

   Although feminism is a widely-supported movement all around the world, it is slowly becoming a “pain in the neck” in my native society. It is a taboo topic that cannot be freely brought up during brunch. Those who openly state that they are feminists are criticised and bashed by the public. In contrast, women who criticise feminism are praised to be mature, intelligent, and respectable. It is very ironic to see this movement which started out to empower women is being torn down by the very group of people who are supposed to benefit from it. 

  So, what exactly is the problem at hand?

 

What’s the issue?

 

  With the feminist movement being largely related to the patriarchy (a system whereby men are the more dominant population than the women), some people started associating the term “patriarchy” with men hating on women. This is when things took a turn. 

  A movement which was meant to spread awareness about gender discrimination and inequality soon turned into a massive, hatred-filled platform for certain people to project their hatred towards the general male population. They criticised their society and blamed most of their personal issues on all men. As the voices of this specific group of women grew louder, others who have had similar encounters started joining them. With that, instead of fighting for their rights and treatment which they should be receiving, they started spreading hate and their own interpretation of feminism. 

  These communities grew exponentially in a short duration of time. They made websites where members could upload their own stories and opinions on men in their society (they use the term “Han-Nam” (한남) to generalize the entire male population in South Korea; it has negative connotations and is normally used as an insult). These uploads are only meant to upset the readers and fuel their rage towards men, which further exacerbates the problem. The content uploaded is offensive and often seems too detached from reality. Yet, the more offensive the text, the more the members share it, and the more popularity these posts gain. 

  As the communities grew, so did the public’s attention on their actions and trouble which they were causing. With members of these specific groups referring to them as ‘feminists’ and playing the victim card, the true meaning of feminism became warped in the public’s eye. Misconceptions sounded like truths and no one questioned the credibility or looked up the facts.    

 

What is happening now?

 

  As mentioned above, new terms are being created among the people to describe certain people and situations. Apart from Han-Nam, there are other terms such as “Ggol-Femi” (꼴페미) or “Megal” (메갈) to refer to the members of this specific group of radical feminists. People who support feminism are immediately associated with these terms even if they disapprove of radical feminism. 

  For the radical feminists, they seem to be more aggressive. A movement referred to as “tal-corset” (탈코르셋) gained a lot of attention in Korea a few years ago.  “tal” refers to the action of someone removing something. Hence, the term was meant to encourage women to no longer feel obliged to conform to societal expectations. This movement resulted in many women not putting makeup, wearing comfortable clothes and cutting their hair. However, these radical feminists aggravated the issue by calling those who still liked putting on makeup and wearing pretty outfits “fake feminists”, even going as far to blame these “fake feminists” for being the reason why our society is running like that. As this persisted, the women who were being targeted soon got worn out by the constant harassment, and removed themselves from the feminist movement as a whole. 

  Feminism is no longer seen as a movement meant to ensure equality between both genders. In fact, the public acknowledges it as a case where a woman feels that she deserves a better treatment not because she is being discriminated for her gender, but because women are more superior than men. Although the radical feminists do not account for the majority of feminists in the country, their aggressive and vocal nature garner public attention, hence leading an uninformed citizen to believe that the actions of these radical feminists represent feminism as a whole in South Korea. 

 

Who are they?

 

  Now that we are done with the explanations, let us look at some of the biggest groups of these radical feminists. 

 

The Megalians

Megalian Logo Youre Missing Out

The Megalians are the most notorious radical feminist group in South Korea. When someone thinks of feminism, they are most likely to associate it with this community. They are known for attacking the entire male population, even their own family. The Megalian website were filled with reports of women stating that they “began hating the male gender because of this website” and other malicious remarks before being forcefully shut down in 2017. They also actively participated in “mirroring”, harassing men in order to reflect the supposed behaviour of the entire male population in South Korea towards women. Although their website was shut down, it seems like they are continuing with their activities through other means, such as Twitter. 

 

Writer’s note: The person who designed their logo mentioned that the hand sign was meant to represent the “=” sign, as in, equality between men and women. But she did mention that there may be other meanings behind this gesture. 

 

The Womads

womad logo youre missing out.PNG

The Womads are the second largest and notorious community after Megalians. After the closure of the Megalian website, some of the radical feminists decided to create an alternate website. The website is still up and running, and in order to become a member, you have to be biologically female. Unlike the Megalians who did at least had a shallow understanding of feminism (although not reflected in their actions), the Womads actively claim that men are the inferior population and are not quiet in expressing their hatred towards the opposite gender. They also shun the LGBTQ+ community, which the Megalians did not stand for. 

Writer’s note: They seem to be the most threatening and offensive group of radical feminists at the moment, judging by some of the posts which I have read. Their website contains offensive images, and just reading some of the posts gave me a major headache. 

 

Jjuck Bbang Cafe

jjuck bbang cafe logo

According to sources online, this community boasts an astounding 1.7 million members, and it is currently has the largest number of members joining the site. Although the website was created for women and teenage girls to talk about fashion trends, celebrity gossip and beauty surgery tips in the past, this all took a turn when members of the Megalians started infiltrating the community and influencing others there. Any posts related to makeup or fashion are now largely disapproved (going back to “tal-corset”) and are hardly seen nowadays. In fact, most of the recent posts talk about hating men, and no one seems to be disagreeing with such ideas.  

 

Writer’s note: As I was looking through the website, there were still posts related to makeup and fashion being uploaded there. They had many different chat rooms which were dedicated to different topics such as plastic surgery, celebrities and beauty tips, and I could not find any negative posts on the homepage. However, when I clicked on a post to read it in detail, the website did not allow me to as I had to be a member to view the entire website. I could not examine the website any further after that. 

 

Conclusion

 

  With all this in mind, it does not seem like it is enough. To know more about this issue, learning about various people’s opinions and thoughts is crucial. That, sadly, would be discussed in the second part of this series, where actual blog posts and responses towards radical feminism in Korea will be translated as we seek to hear from the people themselves. 

It’s On the House: Uzuri Edition

Do you want to show house pride through food? The Origin* presents ‘It’s On the House’, a new series of food reviews based on house colors. First up, we have Uzuri!

Written by: Jo Yeoul (EJC Press, 19-A2), Beverly Tan (EJC Press, 19-E3), Zhao Keyang (EJC Press, 19-I1)

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (EJC Press, 19-A2), Athena Lim (EJC Press, 19-A4)

Photographs taken by: Jo Yeoul (EJC Press, 19-A2), Beverly Tan (EJC Press, 19-E3), Clare Lam (EJC Media, 19-I1)

 

Small Potato Party

Small Potatoes Ice Creamery, 313 Orchard Rd, #B3 – 48, Singapore 238895

uzuri food review small potato party.JPG

Photograph by: Clare Lam (EJC Media, 19-I1)

Allergens: Dairy

Cost: $10 (no service charge)

Small Potato Party, offered by Small Potatoes Ice Creamery, consists of matcha warabi mochi, puff rice, sweet potato chips, mini sweet potatoes, mashed Japanese purple sweet potato, azuki bean paste, mochi balls and sweet potato ice cream. The dessert certainly provides an accessible escape to those who crave the long chain of sweet-salty-sweet-salty combination (Mobius Strip much?). It’s design is very pretty too, and is very “Instagrammable”.

Although the name certainly sounded promising, the sweet potato ice cream was lacking in flavour. The dessert unfortunately did not live up to its hype and was rather overpriced, considering that the cup was small enough to fit in a child’s palm. Even the spoon was small; maybe the name of the dessert was truly an apt one.   

Rating: B, would eat if in the area.  

Taro Milk Tea with black pearls (100%)

Liho, The Star Vista, 1 Vista Exchange Green, #B1-39, Singapore 138617 

uzuri food review liho taro milk tea

Photograph by: Beverly Tan (EJC Press, 19-E3)

Cost: $4.40 (no service charge) 

Allergens: Dairy

 

When we got the cup, we received a poor imitation of the vibrant shade of purple as seen on the Liho menu. Is mass manufacturing a trade off for high quality bubble tea? Maybe. The drink tasted worse than expected – bland and with too much milk. For the love of bubble tea, we drank it anyway. Although the pearls were fairly chewy (the only great point about the Taro Milk Tea), they were excessively tiny and we quickly found out that swallowing too many of them is a potential choking hazard. Nevertheless, it was at least edible.  

 

Rating: E, would consume if offered for free

 

Taro Ang Ku Kueh

The Star Vista, 1 Vista Exchange Green

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Photograph by: Beverly Tan (EJC Press, 19-E3)

Cost: $2.60 for 2

Allergens: None

 

The Taro Ang Ku Kueh has a nice pastel purple colour (rather unnatural looking, actually), with regular Ang Ku Kueh skin and taro filling. The chunks of taro bits in the filling add another dimension of texture to this food item, albeit marginally. However, the greasy skin of the Ang Ku Kueh does leave a fair bit of oil on one’s finger if one attempts to eat it with their hands. It does tend to stick to human teeth but the pieces are generally easy to remove (we have not tested this on any other species yet). The Taro Ang Ku Kueh has no strong flavours but is still palatable and reminded one of us of a Peranakan grandma’s cooking (the other two did not grow up in this land).      

 

Rating: C, mayhaps a chance

 

Sweet Potato Macarons by Clare Lam

uzuri food review sweet potato macarons

Photograph by: Clare Lam (EJC Media, 19-I1)

Cost: Priceless

Allergens: Nuts

 

Clare Lam of EJC Media kindly offered to make sweet potato macarons for our food review. The macarons we tasted were slightly soggy because they were out of the fridge for many hours. Nevertheless, they were delicious. The macaron cookie was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The filling had a nice consistency and added to the strong sweet potato flavour. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the macaron. Some of us are even willing to eat Clare’s macarons despite having severe allergies to some of the ingredients, and might trade our first born child for more of these. Thank you Clare!

 

Rating: A, would do anything to eat it again 

 

P.S. scroll down for Clare’s macarons recipe. 

 

Yam Bao 

Hot Drinks Stall , EJ school canteen

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Photograph by: Jo Yeoul (EJC Press, 19-A2)

Cost: $0.80

Allergens: none

 

Piping hot, the yam bao’s encased yam filling is unexpectedly flavourful.  Despite its diminutive size, the yam bao is probably able to satiate your hunger, easily consumed in the interval between lessons and CCA. To savour the yam bao, we found that it is best to eat it on the spot. The yam bao is truly an enjoyable and underrated gem in the school canteen. 

 

Rating: B, would eat if we’re in the area

 

Recipe for Clare’s Sweet Potato Macarons

 

Ingredients:

Almond Meal – 70g

Icing Sugar – 70g

Castor Sugar – 84g

Egg whites – 84g (about two egg whites)

Purple gel food coloring 

 

Macaron Shells: 

 

Separate your egg whites from your yolks, leave whites in a dry and clean bowl (whites to be whipped later) until it’s at room temperature.

 

Sift your almond meal and icing sugar together twice to ensure that your macarons will be smooth and not grainy.

 

Whip your egg whites with an electric mixer, gradually adding the castor sugar as you go along. Whip until whites are at soft peaks stage and add desired food coloring.

Keep whipping until whites are at stiff peaks stage (if you flip the bowl over, whites should not fall down).

 

Pour half of your dry ingredient mixture (almond meal and icing sugar) into egg white mixture and gently fold in.

 

Once other half is folded in, purposely deflate the mixture by using your spatula to flatten the mixture against the sides of your mixing bowl. You would have deflated your mixture enough when you scoop some of the mixture up with your spatula, and the mixture just pours down in thick ribbons.

 

Scoop mixture into a piping bag and pipe 1.5 inch circles onto a baking paper lined tray.

 

Let shells dry (when you touch the surface of the shell, it should not stick onto your fingers).

 

Bake in an oven at 150 degrees for 12-14 min and let it cool.

 

Sweet Potato Cream:

Ingredients

5-6 sweet potatoes (700g)

100ml heavy cream

100ml milk

35g sugar

35g butter

 

Steam sweet potatoes until soften, peel and cut/mash them.

 

Add sugar, butter, milk and cream into a pot and boil until the sugar and butter dissolves.

 

Use a blender to blend the sweet potatoes while adding milk butter mixture until everything is combined.

 

Refrigerate, and it’s ready to pipe.

 

Far From Home: A Guide to Pre-Departure Preparations

Let’s say you’ve gotten your offer from your dream U.S. university, do you know what’s next for you? Learn more about VISA applications and accommodation in this article.

Written by: Chong Tien Ee (19-E3) and Zhao Keyang (19-I1)

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)

 

You’ve just gotten some offers from US universities. It’s not nearly as exciting as getting your Hogwarts letter, but close enough. Offers typically start rolling in between March and April and this is when you will need to choose. It is common for prospective students to receive multiple offers, so do consider all your options before deciding on which school to go to. Be sure to check your junk mail box because applicants often miss out on offers when an offer gets mistakenly sent to the junk mail box. Upon confirming your attendance at one university, make necessary preparations before flying out of Singapore. 

   

Student Visa

Although obtaining a Visa seems daunting, most Singaporean students have no difficulty in obtaining their Visa. Here are the steps to applying for one:

 

  1. Accept a university’s offer, and you will receive a form, also known as I-20, from your university. 
  2. Pay US$200. This is called the SEVIS fee and the money will go to the administration that keeps track of your status and transfers as a university student in the US. You can pay this fee online at www.fmjfee.com. Your SEVIS fee must be paid 3 business days before your scheduled Visa interview. You must print your SEVIS fee payment receipt and bring it along for your interview. 
  3. Fill up the DS-160 online Visa application form. It can be accessed through http://ustraveldocs.com/sg. When you complete this form, you will be given a barcode. 
  4. Bring the barcode to the nearest SingPost, SAM Kiosk or SAM web to make a payment of US$160. This is considered the Visa application fee. You will receive a receipt for your payment. 
  5. Schedule your Visa interview at http://ustraveldocs.com/sg. You can apply for your visa up to 120 days before the start date stated on your I-20. 
  6. Go for your interview at the US embassy at your assigned interview time. Bring along your SEVIS and Visa fee receipts, your passport, a recent photo of yourself, I-20, academic transcripts and proof of funds for education, such as financial statements or scholarships. TOEFL applicants need to bring their scores. 
  7. Arrive at the US embassy at least 15 minutes before your interview time and wait at the sheltered area and allow initial document check to be conducted. You will need to go through a security screening before approaching the consular waiting room. A document check will be conducted and a barcode sticker will be given to you. Approach intake window 2 and get a queue number for fingerprinting. Your fingerprints will be collected and recorded at window 3. After which you can join the interview line. 
  8. Enter the interview room and be interviewed by embassy officers. During the interview, you will be asked to prove that you have significant ties outside the US, which is most likely your parents or other family members, and your intention to return to your country of residence. However, this does not mean you need to promise to return to Singapore once the 4 years of education is over. The embassy understands that some prospective students will want to continue graduate education in the US or look for jobs in the US. However, they do want to see that your intentions to study in the US are genuine, and you are not just going to the US in hopes of being able to migrate there. Lastly, show your ability to finance your education. If your application is approved, the US embassy will return your passport and Visa within 3 business days. 

 

Now that you have your Visa, you are allowed to enter the US up to 30 days before the I-20 start date. Always remember to bring your I-20 with you in your carry on luggage, as the immigration officers at the airport will stamp your I-20 and take your photograph and fingerprints. In order to maintain your status as a student with a Visa, you have to be admitted to a school for the duration of your stay. This means you will need to complete at least 12 credit hours per semester. However, in cases of medical emergencies, thesis writing term or final semester, you are excused from the minimum requirements of credit hours per semester. There will be advisors for these matters in your university, so do approach them if you have any queries or come across any difficulties during your university life. If for some reason you are out of class for more than 5 months, you will need a new F-1 visa. Take note that you must always carry your I-20 with you when traveling outside of the U.S. If it expires while you are outside of the US, you need to apply for a new Visa.  

 

Once you complete your studies you will be allowed to stay in the US for up to 12 months with a Visa called OTP, which means you need to seek a temporary internship directly related to your course of study. Students with a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) are allowed to stay up to 29 months. To participate in OTP, you will need to get an OTP endorsement for your I-20, an Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) and a Social Security number. More details will be provided for you by your school nearer to your graduation date. 

 

Useful links

Pay your SEVIS fee here:  www.fmjfee.com

Fill up the DS-160 online visa application form and schedule a VISA interview here: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/sg

 

Accommodation

You are going to a country across the Pacific Ocean for higher education, on your own and you require a place to stay. There are many housing options available. Upon confirming your attendance at a particular school,  information regarding accommodation will be sent to you. 

 

Most schools offer on-campus dormitories for first-year students. These dormitories are typically near libraries, cafeterias, and other school facilities. There are different types of dormitories but it is common for students to have at least one roommate and share communal living spaces with other students. Some schools offer suite type dormitories on campus. Suites allow a group of students to stay in an apartment-like space, with bathrooms and a kitchen to be shared with the people living in the same suite. Some schools offer single rooms as well, but this option is not common. Students who live on campus will most likely be offered meal plans so they can have their meals at the school cafeteria. Living in an on-campus dormitory will bring you closer to the social and academic scene of your school. 

 

Some students may also choose to stay off-campus. They usually lease an apartment alone or with friends. These students are usually in their third or fourth year and have a better idea of the city they are studying in. It is usually not recommended for first-year students to seek off-campus housing options because they need time to adapt to their new environment. Some universities actually provide the service of giving students who prefer to live off-campus advice on how and where to look for places to stay off-campus. They may even suggest some trustworthy landlords in the area. 

 

Homestay programmes are another option and a great way for you to immerse yourself in American culture. This programme provides accommodation to international students by connecting them with local host families. These host families will provide the international student with a place to stay, meals and most importantly, support. International students can experience American culture firsthand through participation in the host family’s daily routines. The host family will take care of most of your needs and they may help you get more acclimated with life in the US.        

 

With all this information in your mind and the valid documents in your hand, all that you have left is to pack your bags and buy a plane ticket. Fly across the world and get ready for the beginning of a new adventure. 

 

Bibliography

  1. U.S. Visa Information Service for Singapore (n.d.). Apply for a U.S. Visa. Retrieved from http://www.ustraveldocs.com/sg
  2. Department of Homeland Security (n.d.). Form I-901. Retrieved from http://www.fmjfee.com/
  3. International Student (n.d.). Accommodation Options for US Schools: Study in the USA. Retrieved from https://www.internationalstudent.com/study_usa/way-of-life/accommodation/
  4. Postgrad.com (n.d.). US Student Accommodation. Retrieved from https://www.postgrad.com/study-in-usa/postgraduate-programs-in-america/usa-student-accommodation/
  5. International Student (n.d.). Homestay Programs. Retrieved from https://www.internationalstudent.com/homestay/
  6. International Student (n.d.). Money Matters: Study in the USA. Retrieved from https://www.internationalstudent.com/study_usa/way-of-life/money-matters/ 

 

Under $10 at Star Vista: Saizeriya

In this article, we review Saizeriya at the Star Vista.

Written By Ernest Tan (19-E6) and Wong Sean Yew (19-U4)

Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4)

 

 

The Star Vista is a popular haunt for Eunoians, considering its relative proximity to the Mount Sinai campus (it’s located adjacent to Buona Vista MRT Station). The overwhelmingly optimistic comments and effusive praise led two Press members to Saizeriya’s outlet at The Star Vista. 

 

A Japanese-owned Italian casual dining restaurant chain, Saizeriya seems to be a popular choice amongst patrons at The Star Vista, with snaking queues of students and working adults alike at dinnertime. Featuring over fifty dishes, Saizeriya’s menu is diverse, with options ranging from pizzas, desserts, pasta to grilled hotplate dishes. It is also relatively affordable as many dishes are under $10.

 

Salmon Cream Pasta

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A relatively new addition to the menu, Salmon Cream Pasta ($7.90) consisted of al dente pasta slathered in a seasoned cream sauce and accompanied with a generous serving of smoked salmon. The salmon, in our opinion, was perfectly cooked, with a taste that is slightly reminiscent of sashimi. While we felt that the smoked salmon would be pretty plain on its own, this was negated when paired with the saltiness of the grated cheese and the rich cream sauce. However, we felt that the cream sauce could have been thicker to suit taste buds with an affinity for stronger flavours.

Rating: 4/5

 

Spinach Chicken Gratin

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At $5.90, we felt that Spinach Chicken Gratin was value-for-money, considering its relatively copious servings of penne, well-complemented with grilled chicken, cheese, spinach and white sauce. The cheese and white sauce made the dish extremely creamy, which might be favourable for some. However, we found this to be quite surfeiting. 

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Seafood Pasta

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Seafood Pasta ($7.90) featured a tomato sauce with a diverse and hearty portion of seafood – including squid, shrimp, mussels and clams. With a hint of saltiness, the clams were palatable but the mussels were grossly overcooked. The spaghetti was also slightly overcooked as evident by the soft texture of the noodles. 

 

Rating: 2.5/5

 

Curry Chicken Creamy Baked Rice

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The Curry Chicken Creamy Baked Rice ($5.90) seems to be a good attempt on Saizeriya’s part to ingratiate itself with local tastes but falls short in some aspects. This dish struck us as aromatic and spicy, owing to its combination of turmeric-infused rice and curry. However, due to it being served on a hot plate, some grains of rice were overcooked. The melted cheese used was also quite little, resulting in it being somewhat underwhelming.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Pepper Chicken Grill

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Served with a portion of black pepper sauce and a side of corn and potato wedges, Pepper Chicken Grill ($6.90) was a dish that certainly defied our expectations of a conventional hot plate dish. We initially thought that the chicken would be too salty and dry – hence we ordered a side of steamed rice ($1.00). However, our concerns were unfounded as the chicken was well-seasoned and moist throughout. The black pepper flavour was evident, but without covering the taste of the natural juices of the chicken. 

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Bacon and Pineapple Pizza

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To share, we had the Bacon and Pineapple Pizza ($6.90; Original Price: $7.90), a modified version of the classic Hawaiian pizza. Despite being avid fans of Hawaiian pizza (yes, we like pineapples on pizza), this iteration fell squarely short of our expectations. The crust was chewy instead of the crispy expected of a thin crust pizza, and only had a small amount of melted cheese. There was also a poor bacon-to-pineapple ratio, with a disproportionate amount of pineapple compared to the meagre slices of bacon. Also note that with the thin crust, this pizza is not exactly as filling as it looks. Not a ‘Must Try’.

 

Rating: 2/5

 

Iced Tiramisu

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For our final entry, we tried the Iced Tiramisu ($4.90), which tasted pleasant, but had a poor presentation – it was still wrapped with baking paper and had several cosmetic blemishes. The tiramisu, however, turned out to be like good ice cream, with a silky and melt-in-your-mouth texture. It produced a beautiful medley of chocolate, coffee and cream. It also featured a subtle taste of alcohol and a strong but not overpowering coffee fragrance – characteristic of a good tiramisu. 

 

Rating: 4/5

 

In conclusion, Saizeriya is a place that offers value-for-money Italian-Japanese dishes under $10 – if you know where to look. Use this review to be better informed about your choices when dining there!

 

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

 

Opening Hours

Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

(except Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

 

Location

1 Vista Exchange Green, #01-44/45, Singapore 138617

 

The reviewers paid for all dishes reviewed at this food establishment. Views expressed belong only to the authors, and may not represent the views of College or The Origin*. 

N the Comet Strikes

You probably heard a few of their covers during school events. But how much do you know about the N Band? Get to know them more in this feature article!

Written by: Lee Keng Yan (19-U1)

Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4)

 

The N Band, one of EJC’s few interest groups, is quite the rising phenomenon. This nine-man strong group of musicians recently broke new ground, performing at Catholic High School (CHS) for their annual Homecoming, then for the Singapore Youth Festival event Evolution the very next day, hosted at Our Tampines Hub, where they clinched the Audience’s Choice award. In light of these achievements, we have accosted these busy people, namely George from the Symphony Band, a subsidised bass, and a Jazzmaster 3000, to find out more about their origins, as well as their dreams going forward.

 

For those unfamiliar, the N Band is officially EJC’s Rock Band,  known as Panic! At the Ghim Moh. Having performed at the College Day pre-concert at UCC, in school during Investiture, as well as the recent Fiesta, it’s extremely likely that you’ve heard their music before. Their original arrangement of the EJC school song, as well as their rendition of crowd-favourite Shut Up and Dance, definitely showcase their potential as a young group. Yet they are not an official CCA, but an Interest Group, one that has found their footing and struck out.

 

The N Band started out as a pipe dream. Its humble beginnings, however, belie the intensity of their passion for music and performance. From just three members who dreamt about a common place to share their music, the then-unofficial Rock Band grew to their current size and began jamming together in the short span of a month. The current name, according to George from the Symphonic Band, was selected after the 2019 Road Run event, where the school issued both a special rubber wristband and a name that everybody would remember. “It’s both referring to the N Band and the N Band, something only our batch’s Eunoians will truly understand and appreciate,” said vocalist and drummer Maya Raisha (19-U1).

 

Their recent performance at CHS’ Homecoming certainly deserves mention and praise. The band took the stage with the songs ‘Final Countdown’ and ‘It’s My Life’, perennial favourites of CHS students, but also other tunes, such as ‘Yellow’, ‘Still Into You’, and even ‘All Star’. Each song that they played that day was hand-picked, taking into consideration their length, arrangement style, and energy, resulting in two well-balanced sets of performances. Particularly impressive was the band’s rendition of ‘Peace Sign’ in the first set, their vocalists Maya and Wan Xin (19-I1) cruising through the Japanese lyrics while drummer Jia Wen (19-A5), bassist Leslie (19-I4), and guitarists Jin Yenn (19-O4) and Matthew (19-O1) set and spun the song’s tempo. Their performance drew a sizeable crowd, their energy and spirit infecting their audience, and their standing ovation; it is highly probable that they will return next year if they are available.

 

The very next day, the band competed in SYF’s Evolution! , performing their pièce de résistance Shut Up and Dance in front of distinguished judges and a completely unfamiliar audience. Yet despite the stiff competition, their passionate performance earned them the Audience’s Choice award, as well as the audience’s thunderous applause. The “Noah Ang Experience”, or keyboardist Noah Ang’s (19-U4) solo, was perhaps the highlight of the song, and was certainly an outstanding point of their performance. The band would like to give a quick shout out to the many students who cast their vote for the N Band during the Audience Participation section.

 

The band’s various feats are more impressive when their schedule is taken into account. CHS Homecoming was but three days after the J1’s MYEs, meaning that their rehearsal time for the gig was mainly during the holidays, where other students were furiously studying, as well as the one marking day immediately after examinations, which saw a frantic full-day rehearsal. Evolution!’s timeline, while more forgiving, unfortunately coincided with the CHS Homecoming gig, and stole precious afternoons in Semester 1 for rehearsal and mentorship sessions. Aside from these, the band members also wrestle with their external commitments, some holding positions in their official CCAs, while others in their civics groups’ committees.  The band’s achievements, and even efforts, certainly did not come easy.

 

Undaunted, the comets streak towards the horizon. The N Band’s future targets are competitions such as Voice of My Generation and YouthX, as well as gigs at internal events like Teachers’ Day and Euphoria. By branching out beyond internal school opportunities and gaining outside exposure, they intend to create a legacy of dedicated musicians, passionate enough to pursue their dreams. Hopefully, this would be enough to attract young, non-A-Levels-laden blood to take the torch, as well as leave their mark on the EJC identity. But the most important thing, to them, is simply to have fun as a band.

 

This band of rising rock stars is one to watch. If you’re ever looking to listen in, the N Band has jamming sessions on Tuesdays, 5 to 7 pm, in the Jamming Studio at the Atria; see you there!

Far From Home: A Guide to Applying for University Education in the US

Interested in studying in the US? This article is just for you. Our new ‘Far From Home’ series is about pursuing higher education.

Written by: Chong Tien Ee (19-E3) and Zhao Keyang (19-I1)

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)

 

At this age, we are all trying to decide which path to take upon graduation, and studying in the US cannot be overlooked. Leaving Singapore by yourself in pursuit of education may seem daunting, but there are perks to studying overseas, such as opportunities to practice adulting and the wide array of lifestyle choices available only outside of Singapore.

 

It is important to note that every individual has their own tastes and preferences when selecting their path. School rankings are not conclusive in showing whether a school is suitable for you. Take into account your passions, strengths and weaknesses, costs, the location and the kind of education you would like to receive. 

  

The most crucial factor to consider is cost. The direct costs include tuition, room, board, while indirect costs include supplies for books, living expenses, transportation and emergencies. The average tuition fee for a private 4 year college amounts to $32,410 and the average tuition fee for a public 4 year college amounts to $23,890. Most would consider applying for overseas scholarships or financial aid during the application process.

 

Regarding scholarship and financial aid availability, check with your dream school and ask if financial aid and scholarships for international students are available. Keep in mind that need-blind universities tend to be more generous with financial aid as they give these out based on merit and not necessity. 

 

It would be good to consider the majors that you are interested in. College websites can provide you with information regarding the majors offered in the school.

Check for program-specific accreditation for the majors offered. This accreditation confirms that the program offered by the school is up to standards of the career that you are striving towards. Some of you may be interested in pursuing a double major, meaning you want to study two different subjects instead of one. Not all schools offer this, so do your research.  

 

Lastly, the type of institution can determine your choice. Community colleges have two year programs and some are affiliated to 4 year universities, so you can spend your first two years in the community college and your last two years in a university. Liberal arts colleges are undergraduate focused and have broad core requirements regardless of major. Public universities are funded by the state and will prioritise admissions for local students, but are still generally cheaper and more teaching-focused. Private universities, on the other hand, are usually more expensive and research-focused. 

 

Useful links

Information on schools: https://www.usnews.com/education

                                      https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges/

Information on higher education: tinyurl.com/ejchighered  

EducationUSA singapore is an organisation that has a base in Singapore but is headquartered in the US. It aims to assist prospective students who live in Singapore. You may choose to make an appointment with them for one to one consultation and advising. 

Call: 6709 4838

Email: singapore@educationusa.info  

 

Undergraduate Entrance Exam 

There are a few entrance exams you can take. Not all schools require these standardised tests scores, but you should take them anyway so you have more options. 

 

The SATis often used as an assessment for admission and merit scholarships. The test is paper-based and must be taken at test centres. You can take it in March, May, October, and December. The test includes 3 sections – Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. The writing section is optional but most colleges will strongly recommend sitting for it. You are required to pay an exam fee of USD100.50 for the SAT without the writing portion and USD117.50 with the writing portion. Your scores will be released about 2 to 6 weeks after your test date and will be valid for 5 years. You can sit for the SAT for an unlimited number of times but only your 6 most recent scores will be recorded at any point in time. The SAT subject tests are used for students to demonstrate their knowledge and mastery in a specific subject area. It is also a paper-based test and the sections of the test are dependent on the subject you are taking. Subject tests are available in the months of May, June, October, November, and December. There will be a registration fee dependent on the subject. Your results are also released 2-6 weeks from your test date and will be valid for 5 years. 

 

Another option available is the ACT test. Unlike the SAT, this test focuses more on content mastery. This test can be done online and has 5 sections – English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing. The writing section is optional. You can sit for the tests in February, April, June, September, October, and December. You are required to pay a fee of USD $150 or USD $166.50 with the writing section. Your test results are typically released 2-6 weeks after your test date and will be valid for 5 years. 

 

The TOEFL test is a test for any international student applying to a US university. Singaporeans who have attended an English-only school may have the TOEFL waived. However, for other students, this test is compulsory. The test can be done online and is offered about 50 times a year. There are 4 sections, namely reading, listening, speaking and writing. Your test results are released about 10 days after the test date and will be valid for 2 years. The TOEFL test costs USD $245.    

 

Here are some useful links that can make your entrance exam process a little easier. 

SAT and SAT subject tests information, practice, and registration: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat 

ACT information, practice, and registration: http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html#practice-tests

TOEFL information, practice, and registration: http://www.ets.org/toefl/?WT.ac=etshome_toefl_flagship_180417

  

Admissions Essay

The admissions essay is, naturally, a critical part of your application. Schools place a high level of importance on your response so do take time to construct thoughtful and well-rounded responses. Typically, there are three types of questions schools can ask you, namely the personal story question, the social issues question, and the future plans and goals question. 

 

The question regarding personal stories looks for insight into your character, values, and experiences, and is how you present yourself. Instead of writing the whole of life story, focus on a few events in your life that have shaped who you are today. Schools read essays from applicants all over the world, so write something unique and interesting. 

 

The question regarding social issues looks for your personal perspective on various social and political issues. Not only do you need to express your own opinion on the issue, you must also include statistics in your essay. Do not include in your essay various social and political issues unless the question specifically asks for this. Answer this question rationally and avoid putting too much emotion into the essay. Show the admissions counselor that you are a well-read, informed and intelligent student. 

 

The essay regarding your future plans and goals seeks to understand your vision of your future. Show admissions counselors that you are serious about your education and have solid ideas regarding your future. If the question asks about the particular school you are applying to, be specific in what you are looking forward to learning in that school. It is also good to describe what plans you have upon graduation. 

 

In general, write something that is honest, creative and a good representation of who you are. You should begin with an introduction that piques the reader’s interest, before proceeding to answer the question in 2 to 3 paragraphs. Lastly, end with a memorable conclusion that connects to your main points. Research about the school and brainstorm for personal qualities in yourself that fit what the school is looking for. You should avoid repeating information that can be found elsewhere in your application, as well as making sweeping statements. If you are planning to use the same essay for multiple applications, make sure your references to the names of the school are correct. Proofread your essay multiple times to avoid making errors and if necessary, ask others to proofread it for you. Do not try too hard to impress the admissions counselor with grand tales. Instead, try to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. That way, you can represent the most truthful version of yourself. Most importantly, make sure you stand out while coming from a genuine place. 

 

Useful Links 

Information on essay writing: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/essays 

 

Bibliography

  1. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/essays
  2. 2019 Best Colleges in America. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges/
  3. SAT. (2019, July 10). Retrieved from https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat
  4. Test Preparation – The ACT Test. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html#practice-tests
  5. The TOEFL® Test. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ets.org/toefl/?WT.ac=etshome_toefl_flagship_180417
  6. US News Education | Best Colleges | Best Graduate Schools | Online Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/education

        

Humans of Eunoia X Kindness: Celebrating the Paralympic Spirit

You may have seen or heard about them around college but do you really know them? Our fascination with humans and what interests them has inspired us to create a Humans of New York-esque feature series (but with our very own Eunoian touch) that showcases the flavourful lives and personalities in Eunoia, as well as projects the yet unheard voices of the school population. We have exciting themes that accompany our articles and the theme for the next few weeks is kindness.

We hope to provide a fresh perspective through raw and insightful conversations with students, teachers and non-teaching staff. This week, we’re featuring Zhi Wei (19-I1), a national para swimmer. We’re incredibly excited to embark on this series and we hope you will enjoy it too!

Written by: Li Xin Rong (19-I4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

“I don’t think there are any significant moments but if any friend needs help, you should help them.”

Congratulations on making it to the World Para Swimming World Series Finals! How do you feel about it? 

Zhi Wei: I feel that my performance this time was quite good. I’m very satisfied with my performance because I suffered from a foot injury last year and had to recover from it. At least I’ve hit my personal best and qualified for the World Championships Finals round this time.

So what was your preparation like given that you were injured?

Zhi Wei: Ever since I got injured last year, I had to focus on rehabilitation, but that was during the June holidays. When school started, it became harder and more stressful because of the increasing workload, especially in February. It was especially overwhelming as I had training from 5 to 7am, had to go to school for lessons, then resume training from 5 to 7pm after school. I train from Monday to Saturday; Sunday is my rest day.

Zhi Wei trains at both Hougang and OCBC complex. Hougang, being nearer to where he lives at Sengkang, is where he normally goes swimming.

How did you discover your passion for swimming?

Zhi Wei: Actually, I only started in Sec 1. At first, the main aim was to keep fit as I was quite fat (laughs). After that, it gradually became an interest. It was only in Secondary 3 when I managed to qualify for the National Team that I realised that I wanted to pursue swimming as a career. 

Are you planning to pursue your training overseas?

Zhi Wei: I don’t plan to train overseas. However, I do plan to be a full-time athlete. I hope to receive the Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) which is a sports scholarship offered by Team Singapore.

Besides swimming, what are the most important aspects of your life right now?

Zhi Wei: Friends, family, and health. Friends, since JC life can get quite tough and you need your friends from the same class and other classes to support you. Also, my family members support me as my parents drive me to swimming training while my mum cooks for me during training and competitions. As an athlete, you need to keep your body in tip-top shape all the time. This includes watching your diet and refraining from eating at fast-food restaurants.

Do you have any other hobbies?

Zhi Wei: Swimming takes up a large portion of my time so I don’t really have time for other hobbies. If I didn’t swim, I’d probably pursue something in the Arts since I am an Arts student. 

How do you balance your commitments? 

Zhi Wei: You have to make priorities and sacrifices. 

If I have to go for training continuously, I have to miss out on certain school events and even class bonding activities. For example, I had to miss my class outing as I had to go for training. I sacrificed some of my social life, as well as my chance to interact with other people. But it’s give and take. You need to have the knowledge that you have to sacrifice this amount to get what you want.

In the context of a person’s character, do you think kindness is underrated? 

Zhi Wei: Kindness is particularly underrated especially in Singapore’s society because we are very academically driven. Schools are now focusing a lot more on character development. For example, many schools reward students who display good character. I do believe that it is underrated but at least it is now recognised as an important trait. 

Tell me about an experience you had in the past when someone acted kindly towards you? 

In Secondary 4, my Additional Mathematics grades were really bad. I failed my Mid-Year Examinations because of swimming. Hence, my school came up with a tutoring system. Before the End of Year Examinations, my buddy stayed with me until 9pm every day to study A-Math. He even stayed at my house because he said that we need to make sure that I can at least get a decent grade. A week before the exam, he came over often to tutor me. That’s what I consider to be one of the kindest things that someone has ever done for me. 

What is a kind act you’ve done that involved putting yourself out of your comfort zone?

Nothing in particular but I think it is important to be kind throughout the day. For example, helping anyone who needs help with their homework. I don’t think there are any significant moments but if any friend needs help, you should help them.