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20 September 2001

A Peculiar Yet Stella Night

NUS' first Commencement Concert featuring Pam Oei & Peculiar Remedies and Stella Ng

Local band Peculiar Remedies giving a brilliant
performance at the concert

The night opened with Pam Oei and her band, Peculiar Remedies, gracing the stage in very casual wear. Fashion has never been their forte, for as music critic Paul Zach put it, "the Singapore band blends beautiful vocals with strong melodies set in lean yet captivating arrangements." With a nod from Pam, the drummer started the rhythm for the night with the song "What Goes Around, Comes Around".

Their repertoire of folk-rock-pop songs and covers traced the steps that students have to take before reaching their graduation, beginning with the jingle from Sesame Street and ending with Pam's own composition as a fourth year Architecture undergraduate, "Such and Such". This last song was dedicated to the graduates, encouraging them to "stay true [to themselves] always" and to be cautious always about materialism.

With an audience comprising mostly of undergraduates, Pam felt it appropriate to share her motto: "When you're feeling down, there is always a situation worse than yours; we can only enjoy [life] as much as we can". "Faster than Yourself", the band's penultimate song was thus introduced. It proved to be a somber and inspirational original number with lyrics that must truly relate to the young audience.

The effects were minimal with mere light changes and the stage bare save the instruments, yet they managed to shine through. Personal anecdotes interspersed between songs created a nostalgic mood.

Lead vocalist and
song-writer Pamela Oei

Pam's loud, powerful voice only did her credit with songs demanding diaphragm power, like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You". She harmonized relatively well with the lead guitarist. The excellent acoustics, musical harmony, vibrancy and Pam's stage presence rocked the house in the University Cultural Centre. However, the constraint the venue imposed on the pop artistes was shown in the minimal audience participation - the Forum would have been a better choice.

What about Stella Ng, you ask? Well, she performed too, belting out some of her familiar hit songs from her debut album but for many, Peculiar Remedies stole the show.

By Lim Kar Keat, Fernandez Charmaine Cecilia & Mervyn Sek
Photo: Mervyn Sek (students of EL3271)

Ms Shih Hui Min - Making Learning A Way Of Life

What better way to start a day than to be greeted by the voice of a cheery DJ or to the tune of your favourite chart-topping song or music in the morning radio programme. A person who ensures that listeners enjoy tuning in is Ms Shih Hui Min, Senior Assistant Vice President of MediaCorp Radio. She will also be one of the graduating cohorts for a Master's in Business Administration.

Ms Shih hails from Taiwan and has been with MediaCorp Radio for 20 years. She oversees the running of three Chinese stations - Y.e.s 93.3FM, Capital Radio 95.8FM and Love 97.2FM. Despite her busy schedule, Ms Shih did not forgo the pursuit of learning, and she enrolled into NUS's executive APEX MBA course (Mandarin) last year.

The practical learning approach in the course has enabled her to implement effective strategies and policy management with a deeper understanding of eastern and Southeast Asian organizational structures. The eighteen-month long programme also included the practical application of traditional Western and as well as leading-edge management thinking in an Asia-Pacific context of emerging markets such as India and China. Ms Shih found that the course encourages critical thinking and provides practical approaches to management problems.

Ms Shih juggles the roles of a student, Vice President and a mother with aplomb, and still manages to keep a balance between work and a healthy lifestyle. As a woman of eclectic interests, Ms Shih goes for yoga and regular workouts at the gym, and engages in singing as a way to de-stress. She is also an avid reader, and enjoys biographies and non-fiction, which she regards as a valuable source of learning from other people's experience. Well-versed in Chinese classics like Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dreams of the Red Chamber, Ms Shih notes that many lessons can be gleaned from these ancient authors. The military strategies contained in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms can be translated into modern day strategy and thinking, and an understanding of Dreams of the Red Chamber can give insights into interpersonal relations - all these have been useful and applicable to Ms Shih is her work and daily living.

By Jessica Oh, Ma Hui Jin and Deborah Tham (students of EL3271)