Author: Regina Marie Lee

Soccer Girls Strike in Extra Time

Reading Time: 7 minutes

By Jonathan Tan (13A01C) and Regina Marie Lee (13A01B)
Additional Reporting by Mr Caleb Liu

Having narrowly lost to Victoria Junior College in the semi-finals the previous week, our soccer girls took to Jalan Besar stadium on Thursday, determined to win their 3rd/4th placing match against Meridian Junior College. “We came in knowing we needed to beat MJ and end the season on a high note,” said Choo Yunting.

The team was confident heading to the match: “Our plan was to play the usual game,” admitted captain Heng Suyun. “After having played the strongest team VJ before this game, we came into this knowing we could do it.”

Team huddle before the match
Team huddle before the match

Still, the game started off cagily with both teams reluctant to commit players forward and keeping the majority of players behind the ball. Neither side could control possession for significant stretches with kick and chase tactics being used to try and open up the opposing side, resulting in a rather scrappy opening ten minutes.

When Raffles did manage to go forward, the majority of our attacks came down the left flank where winger Koo Hui Fen stood out with her good close control and ability to get past her marker. It thus came as no surprise that the best chance of the half came from that route. After some neat interplay down the left flank, Hui Fen managed to get to the bye-line and beat her marker, playing a teasing ball low across the face of the goal from the left edge of the penalty area. With the crowd rising in anticipation, the cross just barely eluded her two waiting teammates who were looking to apply the finishing touch. The Meridian defence gratefully cleared the ball, ending the danger.

Koo Hui Fen skillfully dribbles the ball past a defender
Koo Hui Fen showing good close control

Still, Raffles continued to press on. Midfield dynamo, Liza Tay, in particular, was strong in the tackle, harassing the Meridian players into conceding possession. Her ability to win possession was often a springboard for the Raffles team to surge forward, and led to a few half chances. One of the best came when she won possession on the right, and spotted striker Emiline Elangovan darting into the box. She played a precise through ball, but a heavy first touch from Emiline allowed the Meridian defence time to recover.

Overall, Raffles had the better of the first half with arguably the two best chances, although they didn’t manage a shot on target. Meridian found themselves increasingly pegged back and were limited to two pot shots from well outside the box, which were comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Chiew Wenqi. Much of the credit for that must fall to a solid Raffles defence, who with the support of their midfield, were able to close down space effectively. Suyun explained, “Our plan was not to panic, hold our ground, and wait for them to come to us. When they (Meridian) were still fit at the start, they could attack us. Hence, we ensured our defence was solid.”

Goalkeeper Chiew Wenqi saves a goal
Goalkeeper Chiew Wenqi collects the ball as her defenders look on gratefully

The second half saw a tactical change by the Raffles team as they brought on Jane Ong on the right. Jane had been kept out of the starting line-up due to a knee injury and her introduction clearly made a difference, with Raffles starting to show more attacking intent. A track and field athlete, she was able to use her pace to good effect, and was noticeably the fastest player on the pitch, despite her injury. The Meridian defence, and the left back in particular, found it increasingly impossible to cope with Jane’s surging runs and ability to drive to the bye-line. Within a few minutes of the restart, the left back was pressured into giving away possession to Jane in a dangerous area, and Meridian was lucky to escape when Jane just failed to find a teammate in the box.

Emiline with the ball
Emiline sprinting towards the goal

As the match wore on Raffles increasingly came to dominate possession with Meridian largely pegged back in their own half. They were able to put balls forward for their wingers to chase, and Liza was able to make a few good probing runs at the Meridian defence from midfield. Where Meridian did manage to clear the ball, it inevitably fell back to a player from the Raffles team, in particular Suyun, who was effective in a midfield anchor role. On a few occasions, crosses from the flanks or Liza’s mazy runs down the middle yielded half-chances, but Raffles’ attack found themselves up against a stubborn Meridian defence which successfully prevented the Raffles players from getting their shots away. It was frustrating for the players, even as they continued to put the Meridian defence under increasing pressure.

Jane takes a free kick
Jane confronts the tough Meridian defence as she takes a free kick

Then came the moment that everyone thought would win the game for Raffles. After good movement down the right, Emiline was able to brilliantly turn her marker and cut the ball back towards the penalty spot. Liza was perfectly placed and struck the ball sweetly, only to see it cannon downward off the crossbar and into the grateful grasp of the Meridian goalkeeper.

Tiredness was visibly getting the better of the players and the match began to peter out, with Meridian conceding possession far too cheaply in their own half. The Meridian striker cut a lonely figure as the rest of her team packed the defence, with up to seven players in their own box. Raffles resorted to trying their luck from distance, with Jane and Liza taking shots from 20 yards without really troubling the keeper. The final whistle saw both teams deadlocked at 0-0 despite Rafflesian dominance.

Meridian came out flying at the start of extra time, showing renewed attacking intent. After largely being on the defensive, they managed to break down the left flank before center-back Shayna Kam made a last-ditch tackle to snuff out the danger. With tiredness affecting both teams, the game become more open and Raffles responded with a break down the left of our own. Hui Fen made a purposeful run down the left, making a neat turn to leave her defender trailing. Ghosting past another defender, she dribbled into a dangerous area, but the Meridian defenders successfully managed to nullify the threat.

Then came the defining moment of the game. With the end of the first period of extra time in sight, Liza picked up a loose ball in midfield, jinked past three defenders on the right and drove in a low cross that fell to Emiline in the box. Unable to turn or get a shot away, she laid the ball off to Hui Fen who found Jane, in space, at the right edge of the penalty area. Jane took one touch to control the ball before sending it curling towards the goal, where it flew over the despairing dive of the Meridian goalkeeper and nestled in the bottom left-hand corner of the net. Jane fell to the ground, her arms raised in both ecstasy and relief, and was soon mobbed by her teammates.

and she scores!
the winning strike


Later, Jane told us, “I’m really surprised it went in. I was really glad, but I didn’t expect it, because I’ve just come back from an injury and am very unfit.” But nothing less was expected from the team: “I was very relieved when the goal came, but I knew it was coming, I believed that someone would score the goal,” said Suyun.

From then on, Meridian was playing catch-up and much of the exchanges were scrappy. Raffles, playing with ever greater confidence, had a chance to put the game away, when Liza played an excellent through ball to Jane, but her shot lacked enough power to trouble the keeper. They were almost made to pay when a rare defensive lapse led to a Meridian breakaway and a clearance from Shayna fell kindly to the Meridian striker. Thankfully, the Raffles keeper, Wenqi was alert to the attempt to chip her.

There was to be no other moments of high drama, with Raffles showing good discipline and teamwork until tension was finally relieved by the final whistle. The team fully deserved the victory, after a well-organized, astute and dominant performance. It was a solid team performance with everyone working hard for each other. They had a clear game plan to first soak up the pressure and then attack, and this was carried out very effectively. “They played well”, commented Mr Man, their coach, “the defence played well, but for us today, attack was the best form of defence”. I am sure the exhausted Meridian team would agree.

The soccer girls with teachers Mr Leong Chee Mun, Mr Man and Ms Jo Chan
The soccer girls with teachers Mr Leong Chee Mun, Mr Man and Ms Jo Chan

Photos courtesy of the soccer girls.

Royston Tan: To Them, Filmmaking is Not a Job – An Interview with Royston Tan, Eva Tang and Victric Thng

Reading Time: 6 minutes

By Regina Marie Lee (13A01B)
Additional Interviewing by Esna Ong (13S05A) 

“Every time I wanted to make a film, (my parents) said to go and find a real job. ‘Don’t be too selfish, you need to support your family. You cannot just make some funny-funny video and think that this is art.’” – Royston Tan

The trio were casually dressed in pants and T-shirts, with a scarf on Eva and cuffed skinnie on Royston. They did not stand out. Only on second glance did this writer realise they were the speakers for the assembly talk! They did not look like filmmakers, but then again, Singapore has few filmmakers to typify. How then, did these three start out in the industry?

Continue reading “Royston Tan: To Them, Filmmaking is Not a Job – An Interview with Royston Tan, Eva Tang and Victric Thng”

Dare to Try: National JCs Touch Rugby League 2013

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Vanathi Rajarajan (14S05B) and Lakshmanan Lakshmi (14S06B)

While most of us were eagerly awaiting the weekend, the Touch Rugby girls were eagerly awaiting their final match against Nanyang Junior College. It was a late afternoon and fortunately the sky was clear and the sun was bright. The final matches took off with great weather.

The team getting advice from their coach just before the match
The team getting advice from their coach just before the match

Touch rugby is usually played with 6 members from each team trying to touch down and score as many tries as possible. However, there is a twist: defending players prevent the attacking team from gaining a territorial advantage by touching the ball carrier. 6 touches are all one has. Once 6 touches have been made or the ball is dropped, possession changes. The opponent team gets the ball and the game carries on. A typical game lasts for 20 minutes. Though it might sound simple, it is a tough and tiring game, requiring stamina and mental strength.

Let’s go Raffles! – the team and alumni huddle before the match
Let’s go Raffles! – the team and alumni huddle before the match

“Unfortunate injuries and the team performing below standard, as well as bad refereeing decisions, cost us the game (against Nanyang last week),” said Vice-Captain Louisa Ng. Having lost to Nanyang JC just last week, Raffles Touch was all set to fight strong and gain back what they lost.

The action started at the sound of the whistle. There was only one goal in mind for both teams: to secure a 5th placing and to end the season on a high note. The level of competence was equal on both sides. The possession of the ball kept switching from team to team. Team members were running from point to point making sure that the whole pitch was covered at all times. The level of spirits was high as both sides were giving a good fight!

It was at about the 6th minute mark that bought the Raffles side to squeals and jumps. Having the possession of the ball in hand, Maegan Wang made a mad dash to the end of the field, dodging and outrunning her opponents along the way. She secured the first try for Team Raffles. The score was now 1-0.

Throughout the match, there were many swaps within the players. This way, all the players had a go at contributing to their team’s win. The constant calls from their coach and teammates also boosted their spirits and allowed for more alert play.

Not getting complacent from the lead they had over NYJC, Raffles Touch fought hard and strong. NYJC had multiple chances at scoring but Raffles maintained a strong defence. At about the 15th minute, Louisa dived in to score another try. Just seconds later, the whistle was blown. The score was 2-0. Raffles Touch Rugby had overcome Nanyang JC to retain the 5th place for the third year running!

Louisa Ng in action, backed by team mates Celeste Tan and Cherlyn Seah
Louisa Ng in action, backed by team mates Celeste Tan and Cherlyn Seah

Captain Lee Chin’s felt that this season was “one of the best memories to be had in JC”. “Every single player grew a lot, individually and as a team. I believe that every one of us really tried our best,” she said. “I would definitely like to thank our coach, as she not only trained us, but also gives us so much support,” Lee Chin said. She added that teachers-in-charge Ms Lee Mei Yin and Ms Ma Jialin were “always there to help us”, in addition to their seniors.

Vice-Captain Louisa was similarly proud of her team: “Even though we did not reach our goal of getting a medal placing, we are proud of the team for playing our bests despite the odds against us and finishing well. No regrets!”

When asked what is unique about this batch of girls in Touch Rugby, teacher-in-charge Ms Ma replied without a thought, “This year it was a stronger team, they played their best and put it all out there. This year’s captain (Lee Chin) was a rare leader and took the welfare of the team as the first priority. She gave her all and was a role model to her team. Together with the vice captain (Louisa Ng) she was able to gel the team together this year.”

She added: “Touch Rug will definitely come back stronger next year!”

All smiles after a successful season
All smiles after a successful season

Photos courtesy of Nicholas Koh (Photographic Society)

A Rock-and-Roll Version of Wah Meng Ti?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Like a R!ot: Retro Revolution Preview
By Regina Marie Lee (13A01B)

“Wah meng ti, wah meng ti,” crooned Alex Chan, as he rehearsed for THI’s upcoming concert — Like a R!ot: Retro Revolution. The self-professed Hokkien song lover has watched all 10 seasons of the Taiwan drama serial, Ai. This most definitely puts him in good stead with the beneficiaries of the concert, the old folks from the Care Corner Seniors Activity Centre at Toa Payoh Blk 5. Next Tuesday, 30th April, the ‘adopted’ grandparents will attend the concert, and they can look forward to performances blending the old and new. Expect to hear a rock-and-roll version of Wah Meng Ti, complete with drums and guitars!

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Please Mind The Platform Gap: What Kind of PW Groupmate are You?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Regina Marie Lee (13A01B)

Project Work (PW) must be the only topic that the RJ Confessions page and my Twitter timeline never seem to tire of. Because PW work submission deadlines are the same for all, you will find people commiserating about the rarity of a suitable Preliminary Idea (PI), or the terrible length of their Group Project Proposal (GPP). At times, this can be accompanied by a passive-aggressive remark about group-work issues.

While PW skills can be learnt, perhaps why PW is dreaded by most is this: your grades are contingent on your group members’ effort too. For most who prefer the significantly less risky nature of other subjects, where you can study and take tests alone, this presents a frightening vulnerability.

Nevertheless, we are not here to reconcile the existence of Project Work, but to suggest how to navigate through the experience, and coax everyone in your group to work together effectively and harmoniously. PW groupings are determined by one’s Civics and PW Tutors, and not by choice. We present to you a collection of PW groupmate caricatures, and how you can possibly work out differences as you research, discuss and craft your Group Project Proposal, Written Report and the like.

Fig 1. When Project Work Groupmates’ Tendencies Will Reveal Themselves
Fig 1. When Project Work Groupmates’ Tendencies Will Reveal Themselves

Excited Idea Generator
This is the one who can come up with numerous ideas during group discussions, often in eager excitement. He or she will be useful in getting the group pumped up for the project, but the Excited Idea Generator might require help in sifting ideas, in case they are unoriginal or unfeasible. Still, it is important that group members do not shoot down all his/her suggestions without considering it first, or it will leave the member feeling unfairly put down.

All Talk Little Action
The All Talk Little Action member is similar to the Excited Idea Generator. He or she contributes good suggestions during discussions, and you are hopeful of his or her commitment to the project. Then, the report writing begins, and your faith is shaken. He or she might tend to procrastinate at home, away from the group, after work has been delegated. When it comes to such members, it is perhaps more helpful to arrange a time to complete the various tasks, together in school or online, over Google Drive, or for the desperate, over webcam.

Meticulous to a Fault
This member will be the one calling meetings to clarify all the minute details in a project. They are useful to ensure the work is logical and coherent, but might get on everyone else’s nerves by insisting on too many discussions to debate insignificant changes to the project. If there are too many of these members in a group, productivity may suffer. A friend noted that his PW group once spent an hour’s lesson debating…on an alternative project title. Group members should encourage him or her to see the big picture, and exercise judiciousness before initiating yet another meeting.

The writer's group celebrating the end of their PW journey
The writer’s group celebrating the end of their PW journey

The Tanker is heavily invested in the final product, and will volunteer (or more likely, delegate to himself/herself) a lion’s share of the work. While this helps to get work done, trouble ensues when there is a conflict of opinion. Some Tankers might be motivated by a lack of confidence in their group members’ abilities, preferring to trust themselves with all the work. While this may be more productive in the short run, groups that use their collective brainpower, building upon each others’ ideas, tend to produce more innovative and carefully considered work in the long run. Thus, it is important to demonstrate to the Tanker that other members are able to produce work of even higher calibre with collaboration.

More than Meets the Eye
This member might appear quiet or distracted during group meetings, but it is useful to suspend quick judgements on this sort. Some might merely be less confident in voicing ideas in person, but possess the ability to produce thorough research or insightful analysis during the report-writing process. As such, give your group members a fair chance to contribute.

Email Ninja
This member does not reply emails, avoids discussions about PW work and is generally uninterested or blur. For some, it might be useful to arrange a time for the group to work together on the project in school. The library offers Think Tank Rooms for this purpose; they are equipped with laptops, a whiteboard and a projector! When delegating work, decide together on detailed tasks instead of a generic “everyone work on Draft 2”, and allow members to decide on who does what, based on their strengths and interests.

It is very possible to come together as a group by adopting different approaches to accommodate conflicting working styles – in fact, it might be a great learning experience in itself. That said, self-introspection might also come in handy: what kind of PW groupmate might you turn out to be?

The writer would like to assure her PW groupmates that the caricatures in this article are not specific to them. :)