On 29 July, the entire Library Club traveled to Jurong Regional Library to support HCI competitors Chin Kee Yong (3I104) and outgoing Library ExCo Secretary Matthew Lee (4I116) in the final round of the 2011 Western Region Public Libraries’ Spelling Bee Contest (Secondary School Level).
According to the NLB website: “The Spelling Bee aims to build up student vocabulary, encourage correct word usage and pronunciation and enable students to be precise and say what they mean. […] Through this event, not only will students get to showcase their talents, they will also be able to gain self-confidence through this healthy competition.”
Students also competed from Commonwealth Secondary School, NUS High School of Math and Science, Kent Ridge Secondary School, Nanyang Girls’ High School, Hong Kah Secondary School, Bukit Merah Secondary School, and Outram Secondary School. The competitors went through a number of elimination rounds, choosing from categories such as Business, Medicine, and Cookery, having to guess the correct word based on its meaning and placement of select letters (a la Wheel of Fortune), and then also spell the word correctly.
The results of the top three positions were as follows:
- 1st place: Lim Yi Herh Ansel (NUS High)
- 2nd place: Matthew Lee (HCI)
- 3rd place: Chin Kee Yong (HCI)
Big congratulations go to Matthew and Kee Yong for putting up such a strong effort in what amounted to an increasingly exciting and gripping competition. Congratulations also go to Ansel Lim from NUS High for winning the top prize, and to all the other competitors for their active participation.
From 30 June to 14 July, Kong Chian Library hosted Project Lorong Buangkok, a multimedia exhibition created by a group of HCI students in conjunction with the National Heritage Board in order to create awareness of Singapore’s last remaining kampung and to discuss how the country’s heritage should be preserved.
Bryan Ow Yong and five other members of the MediaTech Club (mentored by Mr Lee Teck Kong) investigated Kampung Lorong Buangkok, and found out “first-hand from kampung residents about a way of life that is fast disappearing. Armed with digital SLR and video cameras, the team started gathering information and taking photographs at the location” (“Record of the rustic“, Straits Times, 18 Nov 2010).
Although the exhibition is now over, there are plans to make it a travelling exhibition. In addition, the group’s Facebook page and Wix website contain many more photographs both of the kampung itself and of the HCI exhibition opening ceremony.
Written by Kervin Tay (2I323)
Photographs by Tan Hong Kai (1A321)
On 18 June, HCI’s Library Club conducted a meeting of the Pseudo Book Club at Jurong Regional Library from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. on “Drive,” one of the stories from Simon Tay’s Singaporean fiction collection Stand Alone. The objective of the PBC was to give a presentation on the content of the selected text and discuss it with the attending audience. Due to mature themes, teenagers aged 12 and above were invited for the discussion. The event took place at the stage on Level Four of the library.
The presentation highlighted three excerpts from the short story. “Drive” is a story that highlights various traits typical of Singaporeans, such as the importance of social classes/stratification. The excerpts were explored in detail with the audience to provide a better understanding of the topic, which would later allow the audience to answer questions posed for discussion. This was followed up by an open discussion of the recent news where heartlanders were labeled as uncouth, and unwelcome in cultured places such as Holland Village. The main presenters were Foo Yang Yi (3I108) and Kervin Tay (2I323), who had assistance from other Library Club members during discussions to get the ball rolling. The presentation utilized about 50 minutes of the allocated time.
This was followed up by a mind map activity, where one group discussed the effects of social stratification, while the other group listed the advantages and disadvantages of social stratification. Presentations were made thereafter and it was evident that the participants gained deeper knowledge of the topic after the discussion.
The Pseudo Book Club is a recurring event, held every month with a new text for discussion.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a book (deemed a mystery novel by the book’s narrator) written from the point of view of a 15-year-old autistic savant named Christopher. During the course of the book, Christopher demonstrates his photographic memory in detail. He uses a DVD as an analogy of what he is able to do, being that he can easily remember specifics, including what his mother was like when she was still alive, and even what she smoked, wore or read at a particular moment, as well as the exact words she said. Thus the narration resembles a transcript rather than a proper narrative, with more emphasis on the actions and words of others instead of their emotions. This uniqueness also stems from the fact that early in the book we find out that Christopher has difficulty understanding facial emotions and cannot describe feelings very well.
Despite his photographic memory, we also find out that the “mysteries” depicted in the book are indeed, from his point of view, mysteries, due to his inability to come to conclusions easily. For example, when he discovers a letter to him from his supposedly dead mother, he wonders if it was sent to the wrong person, while ignoring the possibility that his mother is not dead.
In general, the narration of the book may repel certain readers who prefer their narration to be more straightforward and less long-winded, due to a lot of sidetracking and anecdotes brought up in the story. However, it can also be viewed as insightful, since the narrating style used by Christopher is very uncommon due to his emotional disabilities. The information overload he experiences is also an insight that shows how he is able to analyse things that we normally do not pay attention to or take for granted.
This novel is a recommended read for those who like twists, no matter how minor they might possibly be, as there are numerous twists, both foreshadowed and unexpected, throughout the story.
Written & Photographs by Tan Hong Kai (1A321)
On 23 April, HCI’s Library Club conducted a meeting of the Pseudo Book Club at Jurong Regional Library from 3:00 to 4:30 pm, on George Orwell’s acclaimed novel Animal Farm. The objective of the PBC was to give a presentation on the content of a selected text and discuss it with the attending audience. This time round, students from Hwa Chong Institution, Nan Hua High School and Methodist Girls’ School were present for the discussion.
The presentation on the novel explained several important details so as to provide sufficient contextual knowledge for the participants, covering the main characters in the story and the underlying important themes (such as democracy and corruption). The main presenters were Yau Chun Shin (4H131) and Kervin Tay (2I323). The presentation utilized the first half of the meeting time (about 45 minutes).
During the second half, the participants were split into two groups. One group had to create a mind map based on the theme of Democracy, while the other had to create a mind map based on Corruption; both groups presented their mind maps at the end of the discussion, which included definitions of the given topic, and also the questions posed in the presentation. For example, does democracy refer to freedom? Can corruption be overturned? etc. The participants actively and enthusiastically engaged themselves in the exploration of such questions, and gave relevant examples based on current affairs.
The Pseudo Book Club is a recurring event, held every month with a new text for discussion.
Written by Justin Foo Min Hua (2P408)
Photographs by Mr Jason Erik Lundberg
On Thursday, 19 April, for the final 2011 Library Week and World Book Day afternoon event, junior college members of the HCI Young Editors Club — Ephraim Tan (Co-Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Contributor), Lee Kah How (Artistic Director), and Joel Zhang (Prose Contributor) — launched their new publication, an anthology of poetry and prose entitled Towerhill Reclaimed.
Initially the editors thought of naming the book Parnassus, after the hilltop home of the Greek Muses of music, poetry, and knowledge, but reconsidered when they realized that the obscure reference would be too difficult to comprehend for the general reader. The anthology contains poems by our very own students, from both the high school and junior college, many of whom are our seniors from several years ago. The cover art has a monochromatic theme, which Artistic Director Lee Kah How chose because of its aesthetic elegance.
The anthology is split into two sections. The first section contains traditional elements and cultural themes, while the second section is about the progression into the future. The editors also felt that the book illustrates the movement from past to present, showing how the contributors’ writing has improved over the years; the symbolism of the clock imagery on the front cover contributes to this theme.
Another thing I learned from the YEC members was that we can get our creative inspiration from our surroundings. As students, there are many things around us that we may be unsatisfied with, and we can express our feelings through poetry and prose. Editor Ephraim Tan also mentioned that, “Writing is to express, not to impress.” I agree with this statement, as whenever I feel upset and emotional, I turn to literature and writing for an outlet and release. Joel Zhang said that as we practice writing, we will know what works and what does not. Many people have this personal fear of being mocked when other people look at their writing, but I think that this might show that the writer may not be putting in all his effort when writing, and thus he or she is afraid that other people would despise their work. If we have tried our best, yet still get laughed at by others, perhaps we can look at this criticism in a positive way, as a platform for improvement.
Each copy of Towerhill Reclaimed was sold for only 10 dollars. All proceeds collected from selling the book will go to disaster relief for Japan, following the recent earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear mishaps. During the Q&A session at the end of the talk, a Sec 4 student asked why each Hwa Chong student couldn’t have a copy for free. Ephraim replied that people would treasure the book more if they use their money to buy it, in addition to the good feeling that comes from donating to a worthy cause.
(N.B. Copies of Towerhill Reclaimed are still available; interested students and staff can contact Mrs Laura Ng for acquisition details. -JEL)
Following are photos of some of the events conducted during 2011 Library Week and World Book Day.
The National Library Board brought over more than 800 books for the Mass Book Borrowing on Tuesday at Oei Tiong Ham Hall:
All week long, the winners of the Microfiction Writing Competition were displayed near the library staircase (click to enlarge and read the entries):
On Thursday, the annual Scrabble Challenge was conducted by Mrs Yeong-Loke Lai Fun and Ms G. Kalavathi, with the result that the high school winners beat their junior college counterparts!