Teachers’ Day 2023: Teachers’ Media Madness

Reading Time: 7 minutes

By Calyss Ng (24A01A), Jessica Zhu Yunjie (24A01E) 

Experiencing the universal struggle of running out of shows to watch, or just never being able to find a new song that really gets your vibe? Fret not, for in this Teachers’ Day Special, we explore which types of media our very own teachers swear by — from blockbuster films to indie bands. There’s bound to be something that tickles your fancy!

Ms Eng Yuwen: The Best of Both Worlds

Ms Eng and her son!

Potterhead and Mandopop enthusiast; these are the defining traits of Ms Eng’s taste in shows and songs. While it may be difficult to associate such drastically different things with one another at first, her passion for both can easily speak for itself. 

Like some of us who can’t imagine eating without watching a show, Ms Eng always listens to music or watches a show on the go. In fact, she often leaves a comfort show playing in the background as “white noise” while marking. 

“[It] helps me focus better and my familiarity with the show means I will not be distracted.”

It’s certainly a tried and tested method by many of us, but perhaps it truly works wonders in boosting productivity if even our teachers do it?

Speaking of white noise, has anyone ever dived down the rabbit hole of strangely mesmerising sorting algorithms?  

Of course, Ms Eng enjoys watching shows for entertainment and relaxation too. “It’s a great time to decompress after a long day of work and helps me to fulfil the me-time quota.”

This emphasis on having time to herself has even led her to pursue the unconventional, such as watching movies in cinemas alone. For the sceptics out there, she commented that she found it “very liberating”. (Perhaps it’s worth a shot!)

When asked to share more about her taste in music, Ms Eng labelled herself as a “mandopop fan through and through”. This certainly wasn’t a short-lived interest — she’s been one since she was a teenager!

Much like the Kpop stans of today, she too, diligently saved parts of her allowance to buy CDs of her favourite singers: Jay Chou and JJ Lin. “Alas, these things and their players are obsolete,” she quipped with a smile.

Jay Chou (Source) and JJ Lin (Source) performing during their concerts.

While Ms Eng has remained a loyal listener of the mandopop genre, her frequently played list has certainly now been expanded to include movie and musical soundtracks such as those from Lord of the Rings and Hamilton. However, the same neat classification cannot be said for her favourite shows. 

“Scrolling through my Netflix ‘Top Picks’ is a weird experience: the genres I enjoy are far too eclectic.”

Ms Eng’s taste in shows ranges widely from fantastical anime to stomach-churning war documentaries. Despite how different they are, she could not possibly bear to part with either, hence only observing differences in which genre she binge watches the most at a particular point in time. 

However, if she had to pick an all-time favourite, it would definitely be the Harry Potter movies. Belonging to the original “Harry Potter generation”, Ms Eng believes that “the series is so well-loved because it talks about friendship, about family, about good triumphing evil”. 

A screencap of Hogwarts from ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. (Source)

“[The Harry Potter series] has great plot and character development. And it has magic. If you haven’t watched the movies (or read the books), you really, really, really, should. 10/10 recommend.”

Ms Eng has another more niche recommendation: Zhang Yimou’s 满江红 (Full River Red), a historical comedy thriller film. Set in the Song dynasty, the film follows the investigation of a peculiar death—that of a delegate carrying a mysterious letter. She assured us that it was “as confusing as it sounds, but it truly [kept] her guessing on the edge of [her] seat till the very last frame”. 

A screencap from ‘Full River Red’. (Source)

If you share her penchant for historical fiction, you’ll likely enjoy this film. “Plus, Zhang Yimou’s aesthetics and attention to detail can always be trusted,” she added fondly, rating it a 5/5.

Ms Nicole Magno: Where Human Emotion Meets Culture

Ms Magno’s sentiments about TV shows are easily relatable to many of us: It’s all too easy to get absorbed into the story and let the episodes and hours fly by.

However, one thing that might be surprising to you, is that Ms Magno doesn’t subscribe to popular streaming sites like Disney+ or Netflix. Instead, she chooses to read books. “I lack the patience to sit through an entire television series when I know I can read stories at a faster rate,” she explains, adding that she makes exceptions for shows involving Filipino mythology or Cillian Murphy. 

If the name doesn’t quite ring a bell, perhaps the Irish actor’s repertoire will. He is best known for the crime drama series Peaky Blinders, alongside Inception and A Quiet Place. He also helms one of the biggest film blockbusters this year — Oppenheimer.

Cillian Murphy as J.Robert Oppenheimer (source: IMDb)

Ms Magno’s passion comes through most clearly in music, and it’s worth noting that the sheer variety of genres she listens to is remarkable to even the most avid music connoisseur. 

Music has played a chronological role in Ms Magno’s life. She recounts how she grew up listening to classical and opera pop music (“Josh Groban was my childhood!”) entering a Japanese rock phase. She particularly enjoyed power ballads by Japanese rock bands such as L ’ Arc-en-Ciel.

J-Rock band L ’ Arc-en-Ciel (Source: Japanese Music Entertainment World)

Eventually, there was another drastic shift to musical soundtracks in her teenage years, such as Les Misérables and Phantom of The Opera, many of which may also be familiar to fans of epic musicals.

Her university years were then marked by the catchy tunes of Korean and Taiwanese bands, which were just gaining eminence at the time. Some of the bands are still active to this day, such as K-pop boy group Super Junior, which gained widespread popularity after their hit song ‘Sorry Sorry’.

K-Pop boy band Super Junior at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in September 2022 (Source: The Straits Times)

Now, Ms Magno finds herself leaning into progressive metal, which is a fusion genre of heavy metal that meets other genres such as jazz or opera. 

“It’s such a fun fusion to listen to because at one point you’re listening to death growls and the next you’re overwhelmed by a powerful, operatic voice.”

If asked to recommend one thing to our readers, Ms Magno chooses the “Farewell Trilogy” from Seventh Wonder’s Tiara album. “Seventh Wonder is a Swedish progressive metal band who always tell stories through their music,” she explains.

“The Farewell Trilogy in the album (Tiara’s Song, Goodnight, Beyond Today) goes through different sounds and perspectives.”

Seventh Wonder (Source: BraveWords) 

Seventh Wonder’s Tiara album follows a plotline characteristic of some of the biggest sci-fi blockbusters of our time:  Tiara, a young girl, is tasked with negotiating with the Everones, an alien species that seeks to destroy humanity to spare them. 

Additionally, main vocalist Tommy Karevik also takes inspiration from singers such as Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury and adapts their techniques to a new genre.

“Out of the songs on the album, ‘Beyond Today’ is my favourite. It’s written from Tiara’s perspective, capturing her hopes and longings for a normal life.”

Ms Magno enjoys how the songs manage to explore the perspectives of different characters in the story most.

“He has such a powerful voice and is able to capture the poignancy of each emotion.”

Despite her varied tastes, Ms Magno believes that her enjoyment of music eventually boils down to a few key things — the adventurousness of fusion genres, poetic wordplay, and being unafraid of sounding over-dramatic or cheesy. “They just want to make sure you feel something as a listener,” she says. 

“I don’t necessarily think my tastes have changed over time – only evolved to be more inclusive.”

To all her fellow music enjoyers, she has a word of advice for playlist-making: “You have different soundtracks for different parts of your journey and seasons in life. So in this season of exams, challenges, and transitions, put together a soundtrack that makes you feel like you’re entering a boss battle because you are going to slay.”

Our teachers are far more than just educators — they are people who have varied interests and hobbies. If you take the time to know them personally, you might even gain a new friend who shares similar interests!

484610cookie-checkTeachers’ Day 2023: Teachers’ Media Madness


Leave a Reply