Posts filed under ‘News’
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.
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.
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)
Written by Kean Patrick Murphy (2O412)
Photographs by Lu Wen Hao (2I314)
On Monday, 19 April, for the first 2011 Library Week and World Book Day afternoon event, writer Dave Chua and artist Koh Hong Teng participated in a Book Talk about adapting Chua’s prize-winning novel Gone Case into graphic novel format, with Mr Jason Erik Lundberg as moderator.
I learned many valuable lessons from the talk. For instance, Mr Chua mentioned that a writer gets many inspirations, especially from other authors. He or she mainly uses past experiences as a reference in writing stories, while adding scenes from the imagination along the way. A good example would be the very book they were talking about, Gone Case. Mr Chua described the setting of the book as coming out of his life experiences and the HDB block that he lived in as a boy. He used the issues that he encountered in his home as a focal point for his story. This interests me as when I write narratives in school, I often do the same thing. Which means that this way of writing is constant not only from published authors, but anyone who writes. A writer also has to read widely to gain inspiration. Thus, if you don’t read many books, you can’t become a good writer.
Mr Chua brought up the fact that there is a difference between comics and books in terms of people buying them for the first time. Books are harder to assess at first glance, while comics are easier as people are able to judge them immediately by the quality of artwork. The artwork needs to be striking enough to attract the reader’s attention, while the first chapter of a book needs to be engaging enough to motivate the reader to continue on. Mr Lundberg added that sales are also affected by the stigma of self-publishing, with books suffering from it more than comics. I think this is so because many people have the mindset that a book is only self-published if established publishers have rejected it, and so it must be rubbish. I disagree, as some self-published books that I have read are very good, and certainly worthy of a publisher, but for a variety of reasons the author has chosen not to go the traditional route.
A good tip that I picked up was that no matter how unrealistic the story is, you must always remember to keep the story believable. If the story stretches your imagination, people enjoy it, but if it is ridiculous, they won’t like it. On a related point, you must make sure the scene fits the setting. For example, many student writers describe gun fights in Singapore, but guns are banned in Singapore, so the situation seems out of place; writers must be careful to avoid falling into this trap. Another tip is a good way to kickstart your drawings: Mr Koh takes reference photos of a scene he might want to draw, then goes back to the drawing board, takes the best photo angle for the scene or panel, draws it in his own style and adds in more personal details. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Mr Chua encouraged us to write what we enjoy! If you are writing about something that you have no interest in, the story will turn out bland and won’t be interesting. Once you write about something that captivates you, you can spend a long time on it and your passion for it will come through in the writing.
The issue of memorable characters was also brought up here. Some characters will stick in the reader’s memory long after the story has been read. Sometimes, they may not even be the main character, and may have a short “page life.” Mr Lundberg described the Malay barber in a scene from Gone Case being one of the most memorable characters for him in the graphic novel, despite the barber’s appearance lasting only a mere three pages; I can recall a few characters just like that from other books.
The graphic novel adaptation as a form has always puzzled me, as conversion from a prose work always seems to twist the story into something else, shortening the scenes and taking out some of its true meaning. Now I know that this technique is actually purposefully intended by comics creators. Mr Chua gave Mr Koh free reign over the story, letting him plan it like a director doing storyboards for a film, and then collaborating on the dialogue and other details.
In conclusion, this talk was very informative for me, and a valuable experience. I can’t wait for the next time authors come to HCI to give a talk. I am especially interested in two Singaporean authors, Jeffrey Lim and Wena Poon, whose writing I enjoyed after reading an anthology which included short stories by them. I used to think that Singaporean literature was a waste of time and of poor quality, but talks like these have broadened my vision and changed my views.
“I Read, Therefore I Am”
Next week, 18-21 April, celebrate 2011 Library Week and World Book Day at Kong Chian Library!
On Monday, writer Dave Chua and artist Koh Hong Teng will conduct a Book Talk about adapting Chua’s prize-winning novel Gone Case into graphic novel format. In addition to discussing the challenges of adaptation, they will talk about other graphic novels and prose books that have influenced them, and the state of graphic literature in Singapore.
Tuesday will see two events: the Chinese Share-a-Book will be conducted in the Seminar and Conference Rooms, as an extension of the Chinese reading done during the Term 1 sabbatical week. The NLB Mass Book Borrowing will take place at Oei Tiong Ham Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Mrs Rosalind Lee will soon post the schedule for the lower sec classes on the EMB, and upper sec students are highly encouraged to drop by during lunch time.
The annual Scrabble Challenge will be conducted on Wednesday once again by Mrs Yeong-Loke Lai Fun and Ms G. Kalavathi, with the winners competing against students from the junior college to determine ultimate HCI Scrabble supremacy!
During lunch time on Thursday, the Young Editors Club will launch their new publication, an anthology of poetry and prose entitled TOWERHILL.Reclaimed. YEC members will be on hand to answer questions, recite poetry, and sell copies of the anthology; copies will be sold for $10 and all proceeds will go directly to the Disaster Relief Fund of the Embassy of Japan.
All week long, our afternoon Big Book Sale will be located in the Reading Area and feature a variety of titles; the money collected will go toward the Needy Student Fund. Also during the week, we will facilitate the Know Your E-Resources Online Quiz, the Lower Sec Door Wrapping Competition, individual class Book Swap, and a special exhibition of the winners from the Micro-Fiction Writing Competition.
Stay tuned here and at our official Facebook Event Page for up-to-the-minute details, and join us next week in the celebration of books and reading!
For the month of February, Kong Chian Library will be focusing on the literary genre of Everyday Economics.