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National Day giveaway! GE2011 commemorative book up for grabs

National Day giveaway! GE2011 commemorative book up for grabs

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Behind every picture is a story. So here’s one…

By Belmont Lay

The book cover. Click image to see page samples.

A picture paints a thousand words. Which is why you should get a copy of GE 11: We Were There.

It is filled with nothing but page after page of glorious pictures. Translated into words, it can outsize the Bible. Or Kishore Mahbubani’s post-White-Man-triumphalism thesis.

This commemorative magazine is shot and published by the finest talents to have come out of NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (yes, they have more talents besides cussing). It shall be destined to be a collectors’ item — in about 50 odd years’ time.

Which is why New Nation is putting one copy – valued at the original price of $11 – up for grabs.

(Details of contest at the end of this article. If you asked, politely, yes, it can be arranged. I can ask Nicole to sign it.)

However, in this day and age of 140-character prose, a thousand words is a tad long-winded.

So I’ve no choice but to narrate the following story using 150 words per picture.

Just to convince you how poignant images can be. And how there is in fact a story behind every picture.

—–

Check out this screen shot of Nicole Seah taken from this RazorTV video.

It is misleadingly titled “Nicole Seah downcast after election” because “downcast” should have been substituted with “willing to cut a Faustian bargain if she could sleep for just two hours more”.

This half-minute interview segment is shown from 1 min 02 sec to 1 min 36 sec.

Now check out this picture: This was the scene about 15 minutes before the press got a chance to speak with Nicole.

About seven reporters and their crew gathered at the lift landing of a rental block of flats in MacPherson estate, obviously looking not very pleased (except maybe one of them).

This was, after all, May 8, the day after polling results were out and the Opposition were victorious because they secured 39.9% of votes.

Elections were effectively over but the poor reporters could still get no rest.

They could have been home making love, nurturing their children or eating chips while watching TV half naked, but no, they had to be out and about to interview Nicole.

But before they could even do that, they had to deal with her two-bit election agent (that would be me, yours truly).

On a Sunday. Imagine that.

Anyway, the story was that the press were really desperate to speak with Nicole because they needed a quote and some footage so they could go back to the office and string it into something coherent enough to be published or uploaded.

And they were hell bent on getting it.

But my task was to stall them because Nicole had to speak privately with a resident and the press was intimidating.

So after I beat them to the sixth floor lift landing by using the stairs while they breezily took the lift up, I pretended I knew which way Nicole went as the corridor split two ways.

“I’m sorry, I cannot let you all through”, I said pointing to one corridor randomly, before continuing, “you all will have to wait here…”

So for 15 minutes everyone stood around whinging until a half-naked old man came out of his apartment wondering just what the hell was going on.

Which is why you see this creepy-looking half naked dude in the background of the RazorTV interview.

He was doing what the press probably wished they were doing: Spend Sunday at home half-naked, eating chips and watching TV…

And having obviously picked the wrong corridor to barricade using my skinny-assed frame, Nicole emerges from behind everyone after another five interminable minutes of waiting and at that moment I could sense at least seven people wanting to throw me off the building…

———-

Contest details: Tell us what’s the funniest thing that comes to mind when you think of Dr Tony Tan’s hair and mark your tweet with @newnationsg and #tonyhair. Deadline is August 13.

Best answer wins. You’ll be asked to email us your address so we can send the GE 11: We Were There to you.

Or, you can simply purchase a copy online at MixMedia.

Thanks Trinetta, for not standing on ceremony!

Thanks Trinetta, for not standing on ceremony!

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Valedictorians have a lot to live up to. You just upped the ante.

By Belmont Lay

The view from the stage is surprisingly good. You can tell who is actually sleeping or iPhoning.

Hello Trinetta, you seriously did a John Cleese!

With just one word, you managed to turn cultured, sterile and dreary pomposity on its head.

And provided a spot of fun and spontaneity to the proceedings.

I should know because three weeks ago, I was invited back to NUS (my alma mater) to sit on stage and watch this year’s commencement ceremony.

Despite me being a dunce, the organisers made me wear a Zorro-meets-burrito-seller hat and shoulder-padded blue graduation gown, which was what the rest of the uberacademics and professors were wearing (in some form or another).

Sharing the dubious and undeserved honour of being on stage with all these beautiful minds made it fun and novel for me!

But can I say everyone else in that auditorium being a graduand or watching the commencement was having a ball of a time as well?

Certainly not!

From where I was seated on stage, I could see the audience in various states of concussion, with many others passing in and out of consciousness.

And this was only after the first invited speaker took over the microphone!

Many others were madly molesting their iPhones, obviously Angry Birding.

Still more others were in a state of fantasy, while several were displaying classic signs of incontinence: Fidgety, crossing their legs and trying not to grimace.

Last but not least, I could tell from the faces of some who were trying to will themselves to die or for the ceiling to collapse. So they could find an excuse to leave.

But because of valedictorians like you, you turned uneventful into memorable.

I remember two years ago when I was attending my commencement ceremony, the valedictorian from my batch executed a sleight of hand.

He had submitted his pre-written speech for vetting to whoever gets paid in the university to vet stuff, abiding by the standard protocol.

But being the cheeky bastard he is, he did the classic switcheroo: He pulled another script from his pants on the actual day of commencement and went on stage to give a speech that was completely different from what had been pre-written and approved. (Now I’m seriously thinking this kind of thing happens more often than people realise.)

The point is that he knew he could get away with it, saying what was not pre-arranged, veering away from the beaten path of approved boringness.

And there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it.

Think about it: When given the chance to amaze, bamboozle, showboat and wow the bejesus out of your audience, why would anyone play it THAT safe?

What was the Dean to do? Withhold his degree? Call the police? Radio campus security?

Think about it: When given the chance to amaze, bamboozle, showboat and wow the bejesus out of your audience, why would anyone play it THAT safe?

Isn’t it worse to bore your listeners to death? Isn’t that a greater disservice?

Boredom is offensive to people, especially those like me, you know.

Boredom is the most intolerable form of death besides being burnt at the stake.

If I had to choose between death by boredom or castration, I’m inclined to pick the latter.

Even better still: Lock me in a room facing a wall for 24 hours with only bread and a dish of water as accompaniment.

And if you dare let me out: I’ll cave in and admit with gay abundance to all 17 counts of unsolved homosexual rape in the last five years.

Simply because I hate catching a case of boredom. It’s more deplorable than Ebola.

Therefore, what’s wrong with pushing the envelope and being spontaneous?

Some people, like this Bennie Cheok guy find time in their day to be professionally displeased enough to write to The Straits Times forum page decrying how using an expletive is “unnecessary”.

I believe Siew Kum Hong said the same too when interviewed by The New Paper.

Whether it is “necessary” or not is besides the point!

Come on! How many things in life are truly necessary besides breathing, drinking and eating?

I say: Blurting out what traditionally shouldn’t be said or done should be the new tradition set by valedictorians.

If you can’t or wouldn’t do it, you shall be roundly booed off stage by your peers.

So here’s the point of today’s missive: You just got to know when to break the rules some times.

So Trinetta, all I can say is that you got it refreshingly right (Which is why you got that rapturous applause!).

For that, thank you fucking very much.

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